ED to move Bombay HC to seek further custody of Pratap Sarnaik’s close friend Amit Chandole

Enforcement Directorate (ED) will be moving the Bombay High Court to seek further custody of Amit Chandole, close friend and confidante of Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik who was arrested in connection with the Tops Grup case last week. Chandole is presently in judicial custody after a lower court refused to grant further custody to ED on November 29.

ED on November 26 arrested Amit Chandole. As per ED sources, Chandole was acting as front between Tops Grup and Sarnaik while Tops Grup diverted funds to Sarnaik through Chandole and another friend of Sarnaik.

Chandole was sent to ED custody till November 29 after which he was produced in court where ED officials sought further custody to interrogate him, the court after hearing arguments from prosecution and defence sent Chandole to judicial custody.

Chandole on Tuesday moved PMLA court seeking bail. The application will be filed at Bombay High Court today by ED officials challenging the lower court’s order asking for Chandole’s further custody in the case.

As per the primary investigation, another close friend of Sarnaik, Sanket More along with Chandole were in touch with Tops Group’s promoter Rahul Nanda.

Sources said that profits in the contract awarded to Tops Grup by MMRDA had were shared with Sarnaik through Chandole and More by Rahul Nanda.

A total of Rs 7 crore was allegedly diverted to Chandole and More from Tops Grup to be shared with Sarnaik. Of the 7 crores, 2.5 crores were shared last year. The transfers were made through bank accounts.

The agency has also found that Rahul Nanda who is presently not in the country bought immovable properties worth around 300 crores in UK and Dubai in past few years.

As per the contract with MMRDA, 500 security guards were to be deployed at the various sites of the MMRDA but only 70 percent of guards were deployed while MMRDA was billed for a hundred percent. This also included the PF and ESIC charges for the missing guards as well.

According to sources, the FIR registered on October 28 alleges that MMRDA was cheated by Tops Grup to the tune of Rs 175 crores. Tops Grup had been awarded a contract to provide security guards for MMRDA sites. Sources said Sarnaik who is an old friend of Nanda had helped him in getting the contract from MMRDA.

In connection with the ECIR, ED had conducted searches at Sarnaiks residence in Hiranandani Estate at Thane, his old residence at Samta Nagar, his son Vihang’s residence at Vasant Lawns, offices at Vartak Nagar, and Dev Corpora in Thane.

Vihang was brought to the ED office after the raid by ED officials and questioned for over four hours. ED officials after the raids on Tuesday issued summons to Sarnaik and Vihang asking them to be present before the agency last Wednesday.

India Today tried contacting Rahul Nanda for his comment on the case but there was no response.

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