Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray was questioned at the South Mumbai office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) money laundering case.
Thackeray’s wife Sharmila, son Amit and daughter Urvashi accompanied him from their ‘Krishna Kunj’ residence in Shivaji Park.
Kohinoor CTNL is being probed because it received loan and equity investments adding up to Rs 860 crore from IL&FS. It was set up by Unmesh Joshi, son of former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi, Thackeray and builder Ranjan Shirodkar in 2005. The ED is investigating how the money from IL&FS has been utilized by the company. ED sources stated they are scanning the details of the deals to check if there was any fund diversion – where the money is used for purposes other than for which it is given.
Watch: Raj Thackeray questioned by ED amid tight security in Mumbai
“Investigations are on to check if there is any fund diversion of the loans acquired from IL&FS,” said a source privy to the probe.
Thackeray was questioned over his stake in the deal he was involved in. Joshi and Shirodkar who have been questioned in the case will be questioned again on Monday.
ED sources said Kohinoor CTNL allegedly acquired a loan without adequate security and also defaulted on repayments. Of the Rs 860 crore, Rs 225 crore was the initial investment in Kohinoor CTNL. Kohinoor Square was built in Dadar, but mired in litigation, the project suffered a slowdown. In 2008, IL&FS suffered a loss by selling its Kohinoor CTNL shares for Rs 90 crore, taking a hit of Rs 135 crore. Thackeray also sold his shares in 2008. In 2011, Kohinoor CTNL entered into an agreement to sell certain premises of the skyscraper to IL&FS and settle the amount, but it defaulted again, according to sources. Following Kohinoor CTNL’s inability to repay its loans, Joshi lost control of the company to architectural firm Sandeep Shikre and Associates in January.
All roads leading to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) South Mumbai office in Ballard Estate have been barricaded ahead of Thackeray’s questioning. The police are checking vehicles and their purpose before allowing vehicles to enter in the vicinity of the ED office. The police have also imposed Section 144 of CrPC (banning unlawful assembly) near the ED office. MNS party workers have not gathered in the vicinity in view of the huge police presence.
Daily life has largely remained unaffected as local train services were running smoothly while rickshaws and taxis were plying on the roads.
The Mumbai police have detained a few prominent activists of MNS as a precautionary measure. Police deployment has been increased in the city and neighbouring Thane as well to ensure that there is no law and order problem.
Earlier in the day, MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar arrived at Thackeray’s residence on Thursday morning and accompanied him to the ED office.
The Mumbai police on Wednesday issued prohibitory notices, asking party workers to refrain from unlawful assembly that would hamper law and order in the city.
The notices, under Section 149 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), warned MNS activists of legal action if they failed to comply. “The notices will be used as evidence against you,” read one of the notices issued by the Dadar police station to an activist.
Dadar, where Thackeray lives and the under-construction Kohinoor square, which is at the centre of the controversy has been surrounded by a thick security blanket. “We have received information that your party workers and you will assemble and may create law and order problem. We cannot rule out the possibility of a cognizable offence or a serious crime and hence you have been warned,” it states.
Aug 22, 2019 12:12 IST
Raj Thackeray questioned at ED’s Mumbai office for probe into IL&FS case – Hindustan Times