Ex-Maharashtra minister Anil Parab constructed Dapoli resort using unaccounted money, says ED

Former Maharashtra minister Anil Parab built a resort at Dapoli in Ratnagiri district by investing his “unaccounted money”, the Enforcement Directorate said in the chargesheet filed in a court here against Parab’s aide and an ex-government official in an alleged money laundering case.

Parab is a senior leader of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena. He had denied the allegations.

The chargesheet has been filed against Parab’s aide Sadanand Kadam and Jairam Deshpande, a former sub-divisional officer (SDO), in a case related to the construction of the resort. The duo is currently in judicial custody.

The federal anti-money laundering agency had also questioned Parab, but he has not been named as an accused in the chargesheet.

The Special Judge for cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), M G Deshpande, on Tuesday, took cognizance of the chargesheet and issued summons to the accused persons.

During the investigation regarding Sai Resort NX, it has come to light that it has been constructed over (agricultural) land admeasuring 42.14 gunta (over an acre), located at Dapoli, Ratnagiri. It was purchased from one Vibhas Sathe by Anil Parab for a sale consideration of Rs 1 crore on paper, the ED’s chargesheet said.

But in actuality, the deal was finalized for Rs 1.80 crore and Parab utilized his unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 80 lakh for purchasing the land, thereby suppressing its actual value, it said.

“The investigation revealed that Anil Parab built Sai Resort NX by investing his unaccounted money in cash, that too in violation of CRZ III rules,” the chargesheet said.

The ED said Parab’s aide and accused Sadanand Kadam played a crucial role since the purchase of the agricultural land and throughout its construction over it.

“Investigation revealed that being a good friend and business associate of Anil Parab, Sadanand Kadam acted on his behalf, in identifying as well as negotiating the sale of the said land,” the probe agency said.

According to ED, Kadam assisted Parab in suppressing the actual sale value and utilization of unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 80 lakh during the purchase of the said land from Sathe.

He (Kadam), on behalf of Parab, had given the cash to another accused in the case, Vinod Depolkar, for further handing it over to Sathe. Depolkar in his statement has admitted this fact, the ED claimed.

The investigation revealed Parab intended to construct a twin bungalow for his personal use over the land and had appointed one Sanjay Kulkarni as an architect. Kulkarni had submitted a drawing on the directions of Parab subsequent to a meeting held at the residence of the politician.

Both Kadam and Parab were made aware of the vicinity and the fact that the land falls under CRZ-III, the ED said, citing the statement of the architect.

The ED said Parab and Kadam knew that construction over the said land is prohibited and they would require permission from concerned authorities.

It added that the permission for non-agricultural activities was acquired through forgery is evident that on multiple occasions accused Kadam had forged signatures of Sathe.

The ED said Kadam acted on behalf of Parab to negotiate the purchase of the agricultural land, knowing very well that it falls within the Coastal Regulation Zone-II, which is a no-development zone, and any new construction is strictly prohibited therein as per the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2011.

Kadam, in connivance with Dapolkar, and on the instance of Parab, filed an application for conversion of the said land into non-agriculture (NA) for the purpose of construction of a twin bungalow, under the forged signature of erstwhile owner Sathe, the chargesheet said.

Thereafter, Kadam influenced and pressured revenue department authorities for acquiring illegal permission for conversion as well as construction over the said agricultural land, it said.

Kadam also looked after the construction of the unauthorized structure and changed the construction plan to resort, even though the plan approved by the revenue department was of twin bungalows, the ED said.

Kadam has also manipulated the balance sheets and invoices in order to show expenses made for the construction of Sai Resort NX on his account and further falsified the ledger to justify the construction cost and hide the actual expenses made in cash by Parab, the chargesheet said.

Accused Kadam, therefore, was an active participant in the generation of proceeds of crime and actually involved in the money laundering of the said proceeds of crime under the provision of PMLA, the chargesheet said.

The ED said another accused in the case, Jayram Deshpande, during his tenure as SDO, Dapoli, misused his official position and directly assisted in the money laundering activities of Kadam who acted on behalf of Parab.

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Parab moved the Bombay High Court in March seeking to quash the case. He had also sought an interim relief against any coercive action against him pending the hearing of his plea.

The high court had granted him interim protection from arrest and posted the matter for hearing in June.

The money laundering case stems from a complaint filed by Union Environment and Forest Ministry against Parab, Sai Resort, Sea Conch Resort and others for alleged violation of the Environment (Protection) Act.

In January this year, the ED attached Sai Resort at Dapoli worth more than Rs 10 crore, as part of a money laundering probe against Parab and others.

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