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Updated January 18th, 2024 at 15:47 IST

What is Khichdi COVID Scam Case, in Which ED Has Arrested Aaditya Thackeray's Key Aide?

While Force One Multi Services was obliged to supply khichdi packets of 300 gm weight to the BMC, the quantity supplied to BMC in each packet was far lesser.

Sandip Singh
Enforcement Directorate
Enforcement Directorate | Image:PTI/ Representational
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Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested Aaditya Thackeray's close associate Suraj Chavan in the alleged Khichdi COVID scam case. Chavan is considered to be close to ex-cabinet minister Aditya Thackeray. The Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police had registered a case against seven people in the Rs 6.7 crore scam. The other accused includes Sujit Patkar, a close friend of Sanjay Raut, Sunil, also known as Bala Kadam, Rajeev Salunkhe of Sahyadri Refreshments, staff members of Force One Multi Services, partners of Sneha Caterer, an assistant municipal commissioner, and other unnamed BMC officials are named in the FIR filed at the Agripada police station. Later, based on an FIR of Mumbai Police, ED initiated action under the PMLA act.

Low Weight Khichdi Food Packets at high price: What is the actual scam all about?

As per the Investigation report of Economic Offences Wing, which was accessed by Republic TV, then-BMC Assistant Municipal Commissioner of Planning Sangeeta Hasnale had issued a work order to a firm 'Force One Multi Services' on April 17, 2020. Despite of not being involved in the food business, the firm was given a contract to distribute khichdi packets during the pandemic. Even though Force One Multi Services' partners knew that they could not fulfill the eligibility criteria to get the khichdi distribution work order, they obtained it with the help of Suraj Chavan and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Amol Kirtikar, whose father Gajanan is a Shiv Sena MP.

Force One Multi Services is a partnership firm with Sanjay Mashilkar, Pranjal Mashilkar, Pritam Mashilkar as its partners. The firm had shown that they had employed Chavan and Kiritkar. The firm's partner Sanjay did not have his own kitchen. He had no license from the Department of Health or the Food and Drug Administration. Force One Multi Services is a firm engaged in the provision of sand, gravel, and security systems.

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The EOW report further said, "Force One Multi Services entered into an MoU with Sanjay Mali of Sneha Caterers to cook 300 grams of Khichdi at Rs.16.50. But, instead of making 300 gm khichdi packets, only 100 gm khichdi packets. Subsequently, the said 100 gm khichdi packets were given to the Municipal Corporation at the rate of Rs.33 plus GST per packet. Force One Multi Services got some khichdi packets of 100gms from Amanpreet Singh Kir of Golden Star Banquet Hall at Rs 16.25 per packet and gave it to BMC at the rate of Rs.33 per packet."

While the partners of Force One Multi Services were obliged to supply khichdi packets of 300 gm weight to the BMC but the quantity supplied to BMC in each packet was far lesser. In return, the partners received a total of Rs. 8,64,21,728.68/- from the BMC as part of their work order. The money, in return, was used for personal benefits. In this Sanjay Mali got about Rs 4.20 crore , Amanpreet Kir got Rs 84 lakh and the remaining amount of Rs 3.64 crore has been misappropriated." Even after the partners of Force One Multi Services did not make khichdi themselves, Chavan got Rs. 1.23 crore and Amol Kirtikar got Rs. 80.5 lakh as a kickback for their help in bagging the contracts.

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BMC Incurs HUGE Loss

Revealing that the deal caused huge loss to the BMC, the EOW report stated, "In view of all the above points, the non-applicant colluded with the officials of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and hatched a criminal conspiracy for his own financial benefit by supplying low weight khichdi food packets at high price and used the money received by the non-profit for his own benefit as well as wrongly obtaining work orders for distribution of khichdi to the persons giving and their associates."

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The money laundering investigation into the 'khichdi' scam case was the reason why the ED had previously questioned Sangeeta Hasnale, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner of BMC. As Assistant Municipal Commissioner of Planning at the time, Hasnale oversaw the food distribution program for Mumbai's impoverished, stranded workers, daily wage earners, and migrant laborers.

Now, after the arrest of Suraj Chavan the enforcement directorate may soon initiate action against the family members of a politician who was also a part of previous Maha Vikas Aghadi Govt in Maharashtra , The family members of the said politician are one the beneficiary of the alleged Khichdi Scam

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 15:47 IST

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