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SIT grills Bhujbal’s MLA-son Pankaj over graft charges

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Mumbai: NCP MLA Pankaj Bhujbal was on Wednesday questioned by Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing allegations of corruption against his father and former Maharashtra PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal with regard to a few real estate projects in Mumbai and Delhi.
Pankaj, an MLA from Nandgaon in Nashik district, was grilled for nearly four hours at ACB’s Worli headquarters here and his statement was recorded, an official of Maharashtra’s anti-graft agency said today.

No further details were provided.

The SIT, which consists of officials from Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Enforcement Directorate, a Central agency which handles finance-related probes, last Friday questioned former MP Sameer, who is nephew of Chhagan Bhujbal.

The special squad is scheduled to submit its probe report to the Bombay High Court on February 28.

In December last, the State government gave nod to ACB’s proposal to conduct an open inquiry into the allegations against Chhagan Bhujbal in connection with construction of new Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi and two Government buildings in Mumbai when he was a Minister.

The Maharashtra Sadan (a State Government guest house in the national capital) was inaugurated in 2013.

When Bhujbal was the PWD Minister, the Government had entered into an agreement with a contractor for construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, a state guest house (High Mount) at Malabar Hill in South Mumbai and new administrative building and residential quarters for Regional Transport Office at suburban Andheri on PPP basis.

The senior NCP leader faced accusations that he awarded the contract for Maharashtra Sadan to an associate who was not known to be capable of executing such projects. The project cost had also reportedly escalated significantly.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya had approached ACB seeking an inquiry, alleging that Bhujbal’s friends and family-owned firms were involved in several non-transparent and corrupt transactions, using a web of shell-companies to park the money earned through illegal means.

Subsequent to the new BJP-led Government giving nod for an open inquiry (where the person concerned is called and his/her statement recorded), the High Court constituted the SIT in response to a PIL filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

AAP has alleged that Chhagan Bhujbal and his family members, including son Pankaj and nephew Sameer, received kickbacks for awarding contracts.

PTI

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