The Enforcement Directorate has carried out raids on Wednesday at several locations in Mumbai in connection with money laundering in running Covid hospitals in the state. Among the properties raided are premises of Sujit Patkar, a close aide of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Bal Thackeray) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and IAS officer Sanjeev Jaiswal.
The ED is searching 15 premises in Mumbai in connection with the Covid jumbo centre scam. The ED is also searching locations in Pune and Thane. Jaiswal was earlier posted as the Thane municipal commissioner and he held the post of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation additional commissioner during the Covid outbreak.
Earlier in January this year, the ED recorded the statement of BMC commissioner IS Chahal in the case and asked him to clarify on the details regarding the process of allotting field hospital contracts and other details related to the ongoing case.
The ED had registered a money laundering case against Sujit Patkar, said to be a close friend of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, and others. Patkar was involved in getting a contract with Covid Field Hospital in Mumbai during the pandemic even though he didn’t have any experience in healthcare.
In June 2020, many field hospitals were constructed in open spaces to provide healthcare services to Covid patients. These hospitals were constructed by government agencies and the BMC had not spent any money on these constructions. The civic body was, however, responsible for managing these field hospitals and managing healthcare staff at its expense.
The erstwhile united Shiv Sena had been ruling Maharashtra from 2019 to 2022 with Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister during which time the pandemic struck. The Shiv Sena then was part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, a coalition which also comprised the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. That government was unseated by Shiv Sena breakaway rebel leader Eknath Shinde who aligned with the BJP to bring down the Uddhav government.
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