The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday carried out raids at seven places in Maharashtra in connection with money-laundering allegations against state Transport Minister Anil Parab, PTI reported.
The agency has filed a case against Parab and several other persons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The Enforcement Directorate carried out searches in Mumbai, Pune and the town of Dapoli in Ratnagiri district in connection with the case. The Shiv Sena leader was present at his home in Mumbai’s Marine Drive area when Enforcement Directorate officials carried out searches there, The Times of India reported. The agency also recorded his statement in the matter.
The Enforcement Directorate alleged that Parab bought a plot of land in Dapoli for Rs 1 crore in 2017, but registered it in 2019, according to NDTV. The agency claimed that he sold the land to a cable operator from Mumbai named Sadanand Kadam for Rs 1.10 crore.
Between 2017 and 2020, a resort was built on the land, according to the Enforcement Directorate.
The central agency questioned the minister on the basis of a show-cause notice by the Union Environment Ministry which alleged that the resort was illegal and violated the coastal regulation zone norms.
The resort and a road leading to it fall within 200 metres of a high tide zone, where construction is not allowed, the notice stated, according to PTI. The notice added that untreated sewage water is being released in the sea from the resort, The New Indian Express reported. However, the resort is not operational yet, according to the newspaper.
Parab has claimed that he is not linked to the resort cannot and failed to understand how a closed resort could release untreated sewage water.
In March, the Central Board of Direct Taxes had said that an amount of over Rs 6 crore was spent on building the resort.
“It transpires that the relevant facts about the construction of the resort were not intimated to the registration authorities and accordingly, the stamp duty was paid only for the registration of the land on both the occasions i.e. in 2019 and in 2020,” it had said, according to PTI.
The CBDT, however, had not named any person in connection with the allegation.
On the matter, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said on Thursday that central investigation agencies had the right to carry out raids, but they should not misuse their powers, ANI reported. “All I want to say is that action should be held in a transparent manner,” he added.
The Shiv Sena described the Enforcement Directorate’s raids as “political revenge”, PTI reported.
“You [the Bharatiya Janata Party] have central agencies with you,” party’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said. “If anyone thinks their political opponents will be destroyed by this, if anyone thinks that such acts will build pressure on the Shiv Sena or the Maha Vikas Aghadi, then they are wrong. Every action will only make our resolve stronger.”
He said that charges against some BJP leaders are far more serious than what the leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government are being investigated for. Raut said that the impending civic body elections in the state will be conducted smoothly.
In September, Parab had filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit in the Bombay High Court against BJP leader Kirit Somaiya for making “reckless” allegations against him.
The Shiv Sena leader claimed that Somaiya had in a tweet in June alleged that he was involved in construction of multiple illegal properties in the Ratnagiri district. Parab said he had no connection with the constructions mentioned by Somaiya.