There has been a lot of media attention to Sameer Bhujbal ‘s money laundering case from last few days, precisely because because Sameer Bhujbal is the nephew of former Deputy CM of Maharashtra Chhagan Bhujbal who on the other hand is undergoing an investigation of ACB and ED for corruption and money laundering cases. Chagan Bhujbal has been one of the stalwarts of Maharashtra politics and of Nationalist Congress party. He is also considered an OBC leader and founder of Samata Parishad which supposedly fights for the rights of OBC.
A brief History of Chhagan Bhujbal
Chhagan Bhujbal was a vegetable/flower vendor at the Byculla market before entering politics. His mother used to sell fruits in a small shop in the same market. Bhujbal had attempted Diploma from VJTI Mumbai which he left mid-way after a year. Chhagan Bhujbal’s political stature and financial status has changed drastically in last 40 years. As per ACB reports his net worth is over Rs 2,500 crore and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raided his properties in various places in the state after registering two FIRs. His son Pankaj, nephew Sameer Bhujbal and other relatives are also stakeholders in that fortune.
It all started when Kirit Somaiya a BJP MP from Mumbai launched a complaint against him in 2012. “The valuation of properties, which are in public domain, must be around more than over Rs 3,500 crores. However, there could other unknown and benami properties belonging him which can be identified by investigating agencies. It will show that he has property much higher than what is being talked about now,” said Somaiya.
Where on the other hand, Bhujbal claimed that he is being targeted by the BJP government as he belonged to a backward community and because some people were trying to settle scores with him. He expressed his views on media from Washington, US yesterday.
But we cannot just give the benefit of doubt to Chhagan Bhujbal as some of the cases are really interesting. One of them is Maharashtra Sadan case. As we know that all states have their guest houses in New Delhi. When the New Maharahstra sadan was being built Chhagan Bhujbal was Public Works Department minister in the previous Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra. A Complaint was also lodged by Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania at that time. The Public Works Department, under Bhujbal, awarded sub-contracts to firms in blatant violation of rules. All these firms were floated or controlled by the members of the Bhujbal family. Like Sameer and Pankaj Bhujbal own construction companies, the interior contract of Maharashtra Sadan was given to Sameer Bhujbal’s wife and so on. The expected cost of Maharashtra Sadan was 50cr, but it turned out to be a 150cr affair.
Chagan bhujbal’s property is not limited for one city, He owns houses in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik. I am a Nashik resident and live a few km away from ‘Bhujbal Farms’ the residency of Chhagan Bhujbal. Bhujbal Farm is 46,500 sq ft property with 25 rooms, gyms, swimming pool valued over 100 cr. Similarly he and his family has properties in prime locations in Mumbai as Worli, Dadar, Churchgate, Mazgaon, Shivaji Park, Santacruz, CBD belapur, Navi Mumbai, Lonavala Pune, Yeola Nashik. The 65-acre bungalow with an adjoining helipad is located in Pune’s Lonavla. Bhujbals are also trustees of well-known MET (Mumbai Educational Trust) institutes in Bandra Mumbai in Nashik. He was also charged for misuse of MET campus and irregularities in expenses towards facilities for students by Sunil Karve, a former associate of MET.
Though Chhagan Bhujbal claims that its political vendetta against him, But this whole process is under high court’s observation and high itslelf ordered ED to take strict action if anyone from Bhujbal Family does not cooperate, Which resulted in Sameer Bhujbal’s arrest . “Sameer was evasive throughout (questioning) and was not able to come out clean when confronted with various transactions. We ensured that he was questioned without his chartered accountant so that we could grill him effectively,” the ED official said.
Earlier in his life, Chhagan Bhujbal’s name had been associated with the Telgi scam – the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam, whose mastermind was Abdul Karim Telgi. He had been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation but no evidence was found against him. Chhagan Bhujbal is also accused for moving money through Havala.
Conclusion: Once again BJP will be accused for caste discrimination and targeting OBC leader even though this process is being monitored by court and ED. Another intolerance drama, well let’s just wait and watch.