Dapoli resort case: Court denies bail to SDO; says he knowingly assisted process of money laundering

A special court here on Thursday denied bail to a sub-divisional officer (SDO) in a case related to the construction of a resort at Dapoli in coastal Ratnagiri district, ruling that he “knowingly assisted” the process of money-laundering.

SDO Jayram Deshpande was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in March this year in connection with construction of Sai Resort at Dapoli. Sadanand Kadam, an associate of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Anil Parab, is also an accused in the case.

Special court judge M G Deshpande, hearing cases pertaining to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), rejected the SDO’s plea, saying there was abundant material to show that the applicant “accorded sanction for conversion of agricultural (land) to non-agricultural use and construction (of the resort) therein with full knowledge that such sanction cannot be granted legally”.

Thereby, he knowingly assisted the process of money laundering, the court added.

The agency has alleged that SDO Deshpande misused his position to illegally grant permission for the conversion of the status of the plot of Sai Resort from “agricultural” to “non-agricultural” to facilitate the construction of twin bungalows.

He gave the nod despite knowing well that the land falls within the Coastal Regulation Zone-III (CRZ-III) where construction is prohibited, the agency said.

The accused “under pressure and influence” of former state minister Anil Parab passed a sanction order for granting conditional no objection certificate (NOC) to facilitate the construction of the twin bungalows at the site, it said.

Anil Parab and his aide Sadanand Kadam “connived” with SDO Deshpande to build Sai Resort NX and caused detrimental damage to the environment, the ED said, adding that the alleged illegal structure doesn’t have any outlets for the safe discharge of effluents.

The ED has alleged that SDO Deshpande didn’t act against the illegal construction and failed to revise his permission after the receipt of a report from the town planner that said the plot is included in CRZ III and therefore, development of any nature on it is not allowed.

Earlier, the court had denied bail to Kadam, observing that he was Parab’s “front-man” and involved in pressuring local officials to legalise illegal work in connection with the construction of the resort.

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