The Enforcement Directorate has raided more than 15 locations since June 21 in connection with BMC contracts allegedly fraudulently won by a businessman and his partners for managing Covid-19 field hospitals during the pandemic. According to officials, the anti-money laundering agency has recovered Rs 68.65 lakh in cash during these raids.
Businessman Sujit Patkar, his three partners and Lifeline Hospital Management Services were booked by the Azad Maidan police in a forgery case in August last year. Based on the FIR, the ED had registered a case to investigate alleged money laundering.
Apart from properties purportedly linked to Patkar, raids were also conducted at locations of some officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and others, including IAS officer Sanjeev Jaiswal.
Officials told News18 that documents pertaining to 50 immovable properties across Maharashtra with a market value of over Rs 150 crore, fixed deposits and investments worth Rs 15 crore and jewellery worth Rs 2.46 crore were recovered. The ED has also seized several mobile phones and laptops.
Officials said the search revealed that one company was giving body bags for Covid-19 deceased to another company for Rs 2,000 and the second company was selling the same body bags to the Central Procurement Department for Rs 6,800. The contract was signed by then BMC mayor Kishori Pednekar, who is likely to be summoned by the ED for questioning.
BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had appeared before the ED in January this year in connection with the alleged irregularities.
What is the BMC Covid Scam?
The scam pertains to alleged irregularities in setting up of jumbo Covid-19 centres in Mumbai and Pune. The ruling Eknath Shinde government has alleged the involvement of the Shiv Sena-UBT which was then in power as part of the alliance between undivided Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP.
The ED has so far conducted searches at more than 15 locations across Mumbai, including residences of IAS officer Sanjeev Jaiswal, Yuva Sena secretary Suraj Chavan and businessman Sujit Parkar, who is said to be a close associate of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had earlier this week announced the setting up of an SIT, headed by Mumbai police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar, to investigate the case.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has alleged that the scam is worth more than Rs 100 crore. Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), however, has pegged it at Rs 38 crore.