'Khichdi scam': Mumbai court extends Shiv Sena (UBT) leader's ED custody till Jan 25

Mumbai, Jan 22 (IANS) A Special PMLA Court in Mumbai on Monday extended the custody of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Suraj Chavan, arrested in connection with the alleged ‘Khichdi scam’, till January 25.

Chavan, a close aide of Yuva Sena President and MLA Aditya Thackeray, was arrested on January 17 for a money-laundering case linked to the ‘Khichdi scam’ matter probed by the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing.

He was granted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till January 22 and produced before the Special PMLA Court to extend his remand by a week.

Seeking extended custody, the ED argued that Chavan had utilised the proceeds of the alleged money-laundering crime to invest in realty and a dairy business, and had played a “very critical role in the entire offence”.

The alleged irregularities occurred when the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) awarded huge contracts to private caterers including Force One Multi-Services, for providing ‘Khichdi’ to migrants stranded here during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

The ED contended that the BMC had transferred an amount of Rs 8.64 crore to the company’s bank accounts, from which there was a misappropriation of around Rs 3.64 crore.

Of this amount, Rs 1.25 crore was allegedly diverted to the bank account of Chavan and Rs 10 lakh to the bank account of his partnership firm, Firefighters Enterprises, thus illegally cornering around Rs 1.35 crore as the ‘proceeds of the crime’.

Chavan has reportedly invested this amount for clearing off personal taxes and liabilities, buying a flat and agricultural land and starting a dairy business, the ED contended.

The ED sought an extension of custody to confront him with documents and his associates in the companies to unravel more details of the scam and unearth the money trail and the possible involvement of other players.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders, including Aditya Thackeray, Sanjay Raut and Sushma Andhare, had slammed the ED action of “selectively targeting its leaders” in different alleged scandals.



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