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ED files charge-sheet against former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse, says he manipulated records to buy govt land using tainted money

Eknath Khadse had earned unaccounted money worth Rs 50 lakh which he later laundered through his wife's bank account for the purchase of MICD land in a fraudulent manner

Enforcement Directorate (ED) has disclosed that senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Maharashtra revenue minister Eknath Khadse had earned unaccounted money worth Rs 50 lakh which he later laundered through the bank account of his wife Mandakini for the purchase of MICD land in a fraudulent manner. ED says that he had manipulated land records misusing his office to purchase controversial MIDC land.

ED has made this disclosure in the chargesheet recently submitted before the special PMLA court while investigating the alleged purchase of the government land of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) by Eknath Khadse’s wife Mandakini Khadse and son-in-law Girish Chaudhari at Bhosari village in Pune in 2016. 

The ED has explained the tricky layering of cash and manipulations of accounts. Purchasers had spent Rs 5.53 crore to complete the purchase of land including the cost of the land and stamp duties. Mandakini had arranged Rs 2.38 crore out of which Rs 2 crore she got from a shell company Benchmark Buildicon Pvt Ltd as an unsecured loan. The rest Rs 38 lakh she had used out of Rs 50 lakh provided by her husband. ED has claimed that this Rs 50 lakh is tainted money.

It was further disclosed that the Benchmark Buildicon got money from five other companies namely Abjayoni Trading, Adamina Traders, Proficient Merchandise, Pearl Dealers Private Limited and Chemexgoods Private Limited. But these are also bogus companies. Chaudhari also raised money in the similar way.

He was the revenue minister in Devendra Fadnavis led government when the deal took place. He has been accused for misusing his office to manipulated land documents for pecuniary gains while heading the department. The ED has also framed charges against the then land sub registrar Ravindra Mule for helping minister to manipulate and reduce the notified circle price of the land.

The BJP had forced him to resign owing to the allegation. Later in October 2020, he joined Sharad Pawar led Nationalist Congress Party.

On July 7 this year, the ED had arrested Khadse’s son-in-law Chaudhari under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and had questioned Khadse also. The PMLA court while rejecting the bail petition of his son-in-law had remarked that he as revenue minister had taken disadvantage of his post, influenced the departments under his control for his personal interest.

As a minister, Khadse was aware that the land in question was stuck in litigation but during the pendency of the case his family members purchased that aforesaid land.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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