The money laundering case against Parab, a three-time lawmaker and now transport minister in the coalition cabinet, concerns a land deal and the construction of a seaside resort in Dapoli in violation of the rules environmental.
Parab was present in his official bungalow at Nariman Point during the search. ED officials recorded his statement for eight hours before leaving around 8 p.m. Shortly after, Parab left to meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Parab, a close associate of the CM, has been under the scanner of investigative agencies for some time following complaints from BJP leaders.
Parab claimed the ED had taken action for sewage flowing into the sea from a closed resort in Dapoli. He said there was no connection to any form of money laundering in this action. Parab said the Dapoli resort was owned by Sadanand Kadam and the ED used environmental protection law violations related to the flow of untreated sewage into the sea from the resort of Dapoli as a predicate offense (required to register a money laundering case) against him.
Last year, the ED investigated Parab in a corruption case involving former NCP minister Anil Deshmukh after dismissed police officer Sachin Waze claimed to have heard the two had collected money from police officers for favorable postings. The ED had recorded Parab’s statement in the case but found no substantial evidence against him.
A few months ago, the Income Tax (IT Investigation) wing had investigated Parab and claimed to have found evidence that Rs 6 crore in unaccounted cash had been spent on the construction of the Dapoli complex. Parab said he didn’t spend the money. “I didn’t give Rs 6 crore for the construction. All of this is planted in the news. All questions posed by the ED have been answered. The answers have been given before and all the answers have been given today. Where does the problem of money laundering come from? I cooperate with ED, if they ask more questions, we will give all the answers. We will take legal remedies,” Parab said.
The case mainly concerns the purchase of agricultural land under the Restricted Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-III category in Dapoli and its conversion for residential and commercial purposes by illegally constructing a seaside resort in violation of environmental standards. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had filed a complaint against Parab in a Dapoli Magistrate Court under Article 190 of the CrPC, seeking permission to try Parab for violation of conservation rules . Under article 190 of the CrPC, the magistrate can hear an offence. The complaint is pending in court and based on it, the ED had registered the money laundering case against him for investigation.
“Today, ED officials searched me and places related to me. The Sai Resort in Dapoli belongs to Sadanand Kadam. He has already claimed it in court and he also submitted all the documents The resort is not even open yet, however, the Union Department of Environment has filed a complaint alleging that sewage from the resort is discharging into the sea. locals related to me considering this as a primary offence. Today’s action was about this. If the station is closed, I don’t know what action they take,” Parab said.
The premises raided include Parab’s family home in Bandra East, his official bungalow at Nariman Point, the premises of his business partner Sadanand Kadam and the house of Vibhas Ranjan Sathe in Pune from whom Parab had bought the land for Rs 1 crore. Subsequently, Parab reportedly sold the land for Rs 1.1 crore to Kadam who built Sai Resort.
BJP leaders including former MP Kirit Somaiya had complained to various central government agencies demanding action against Parab. Parab had filed a defamation suit in the Bombay High Court against such allegations, saying his name was embroiled in controversy with “ulterior motives”. The BMC election is expected in the next few months and Parab is a key figure involved in the polling strategy. Shiv Sena has controlled the BMC for more than two decades, but faces tough competition against the BJP this time.
-The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change filed a criminal complaint in the Dapoli Court of First Instance against Anil Parab under Article 190 of the CrPC.
– The complaint stated that Parab had committed an offense under Section 7 of the Environmental Protection Act.
-Under CrPC 190, the magistrate can hear the offence.
– The Ministry of the Environment asked the correctional court to find the offense and to judge the offense. He also requested the Magistrate to direct an investigation into the offenses likely to be committed under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
How ED came into picture
-The ED can only register a money laundering case if there is a planner offense under the PMLA registered against a person with any other investigative agency or in court.
-The PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) contains a list of offenses and three sections (7, 8 and 15) of the Environmental Protection Act fall under the offence.
-Article 7 of the Environmental Protection Law (penalty for discharge of environmental pollutants), 8 (penalty for handling hazardous substances without respecting procedural safeguards) and 15 (penalty for contravening the provisions of the law) .
-Basis of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change complaint to court, ED registers separate money laundering case against Parab for investigation.
The allegation of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change against Parab
-2011 Vibhas Ranjan Sathe bought 1 acre of farmland in Dapoli in Ratnagiri district from seven different people.
-2015 Sathe made a request before the gram panchayat to build a temporary structure of the land and subsequently he asked NOC to build a kashcha house with several conditions.
May 2017 -Parab bought the land for Rs 1 crore and took possession (but his deed of sale was executed in 2019).
July 2017- Vibhas Sathe applied for conversion of land use for residential and commercial purposes before the sub-prefect of Dapoli.
-The sub-prefect ignored the CRZ-III standards which prohibit any construction in the area and granted permission to use the land for residential and commercial purposes.
-Parab allegedly built the Sai resort on the land and started its commercial operation, which was a violation of the environmental protection law.
-Parab sold the complex to Sadanand Kadam, his long-time associate and brother of former minister Ramdas Kadam.