The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a prosecution complaint (charge-sheet) against Sujit Patkar, a close family friend of Shiv Sena (Uddhav) MP Sanjay Raut, and four others, in connection with the alleged Covid jumbo centre scam.
The ED charge-sheet is of 78 pages and mentions 40 witnesses over a period of 87 days. Sujit Patkar was arrested on 19 July along with Dr Kishore Bisure. The ED has also named Hemant Gupta, Sanjay Shah, Raju Salunkhe and Arvind Singh of Lifeline Hospital Management Services in the charge-sheet.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was tasked with providing healthcare services, health staff and other facilities on contract basis. A complaint was filed last year by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Maharashtra police based on which the Enforcement Directorate filed its case. The ED in its investigation zeroed in on Sanjay Raut’s close aide Sujit Patkar and has alleged that because of his influence, Patkar bagged a contract for Lifeline Hospital Management Services in which he is a partner to run the jumbo centre and provide medical staff.
The ED has charged that Rs 32 crore was paid by BMC against the services availed and material received from Lifeline Hospital of which around Rs 22 crore was laundered. ED has claimed that the agency has the evidence that money was routed through shell companies and massive cash withdrawals were done to siphon the said money; some payments were made to eligible individuals and later they made the payment in cash to the suspects.
Sources told The Sunday Guardian that the ED will soon be launching investigation into the alleged misappropriation by the BMC in distribution of khichri to migrant labourers during the Covid pandemic lockdown.
This will be the third such investigation into alleged Covid time irregularities by BMC. The EOW of Maharashtra Police recently registered a case regarding khichri scam against Sujit Patkar, Baba Kadam Rajiv Salunkhe and others.