COVID-19 centres ‘scam’: ED files chargesheet against Sujit Patkar

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed a chargesheet against businessman Sujit Patkar, an associate of Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut, in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the jumbo COVID-19 treatment centres in Mumbai.

The chargesheet was submitted before the court’s registry and it will come up before the special judge for cases under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA) after scrutiny of papers.

Patkar and another accused Kishore Bisure had been arrested by the ED on July 19 and they are currently in judicial custody.

While the contents of the chargesheet are not available yet, a lawyer linked to the case said the agency has named the arrested duo as accused.

Patkar is accused of fraudulently bagging contracts from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for setting up or managing COVID-19 field hospitals – called ‘jumbo centres’ – in the city during the pandemic. Bisure was the dean of a jumbo centre at Dahisar.

The ED has claimed that Lifeline Hospital Management Services, a partnership firm of Patkar, and three others received Rs 31.84 crore from the BMC for the supply of medical personnel to COVID-19 centres.

The firm, established in June 2020, was granted the contract despite not having any experience of providing medical personnel or services.

During the remand hearing, following the duo’s arrest, the probe agency had told the court that Patkar had received a substantial amount of proceeds of crime from Lifeline Management Services in his personal bank account.

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It is further revealed that he played a crucial role in criminal activities and hatching conspiracy in connivance with other partners of Lifeline Management Services and officials of BMC, for obtaining tender of BMC to firm for supplying medical staff to Jumbo COVID Centres, the ED had told court.

The probe agency said that Patkar’s custodial interrogation has revealed that he directed staff of his firm to carry out manipulation of attendance sheets at Jumbo COVID Centres and fraudulently raised bills to the civic body.

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