ED summons Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali in money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned Yavatmal-Washim Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali for her questioning in the Mahila Utkarsha Pratishthan money laundering case. The ED ordered him to report to the agency’s office in south Mumbai on October 4.
The summons was issued hours after the ED arrested his close associate Saeed Khan during the investigation. ED was subsequently granted pre-trial detention by police until October 1 to question his alleged involvement in the scam.
Saeed Khan is accused of having transformed the Mahila Utkarsha Pratishthan trust into a company in 2019. Bhavana Gawali and his mother Shalinitai Gawali were members of this trust.
Saeed Khan became the director of this company along with Shalinitai Gawali. ED accused that financial irregularities were committed on behalf of Mahila Utkarsha Pratishthan and booked Saeed Khan for money laundering and embezzlement worth Rs 17 crore.
The Enforcement Branch suspects that the trust was converted into a corporation to launder unrecorded money. He also suspects that the forgery was committed to transform the trust into a company. The Shiv Sena MP and her partner have been charged with the abuse and appropriation of loans worth Rs 43.35 crore granted by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
According to media reports, Mahila Utkarsha Pratishthan along with other MP concerns like Balaji Sahkari Particle Board Karkhana Limited and Bhavana Agro Products & Services Ltd are being scanned for alleged money laundering and duping banks on behalf of the loans.
Notably, the first official complaint against the MP and her family was filed by a former head of Shiv Sena, Harish Chandra Sarda. He had filed a petition before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court for an investigation by the CBI and ED into the embezzlement at the Balaji Sahkari Particle Board Karkhana Limited. Harish Sharda had claimed that Pundlikrao Gawali, father of Bhavana Gawali, had been appointed boss of this cooperative factory Balaji Sahkari Particle Board Karkhana Limited when it opened in 1998.
Sarda alleged that Pundlikrao Gawali transferred 14.90 hectares of factory land to Mahila Utkarsha Pratishthan 2001 fraudulently. He also brought other serious charges of embezzlement against the Gawli family.