Businessman Sujit Patkar, who is in judicial custody for alleged involvement in irregularities in obtaining contract to run jumbo COVID-19 treatment centres in Mumbai, on Thursday moved an application before a special court seeking to retract his statements claiming these were recorded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under “force, coercion and undue influence”.
Patkar, reportedly a close aide of Shiv Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, is currently in judicial custody after being arrested in the case on July 19.
The application, moved through his lawyer Subash Jha, said during the probe the ED recorded his statement under duress, force, coercion and undue influence on July 21, 23, 24, 25 and 26.
“The statements which seek to implicate Patkar and other accused and have been recorded under duress, coercion, undue influence and force are retracted herewith and the same be not acted upon and/or read in evidence in any proceeding,” the application said.
The plea said there were four partners in Lifeline Hospital Management Services, which got the contract to run the jumbo treatment centres, but only Patkar has been singled out and arrested as he is perceived to be close to certain politicians.
His arrest is “actuated by malafide and is politically motivated”, the plea added.
As per the ED, Lifeline Hospital Management Services, which is a partnership firm of Patkar and three others established in June 2020, received Rs 31.84 crore from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for supply of medical personnel to COVID centres.
The ED said the firm did not have any experience of providing medical personnel or services.
The probe agency has alleged Patkar received a substantial amount of the proceeds of crime from Lifeline Management Services in his personal bank account.