The Enforcement Directorate (ED) announced on Wednesday that a beach resort and its land in Ratnagiri worth more than Rs 10 crore have been attached as part of a money laundering investigation against Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former Maharashtra minister Anil Parab and others in a case involving alleged violations of coastal regulation laws.
“The attached properties consist of land measuring approximately 42 guntas located at Gut No.446, Murud in Dapoli, Ratnagiri district, valued at Rs 2,73,911,000, and the resort named Sai Resort NX constructed on the said land, valued at Rs 7,46,47,000,” the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said in a statement.
The total worth of the properties is stated to be Rs 10.20 crore.
58-year-old Parab is a leader of the Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray (UBT) faction of the Shiv Sena. He previously denied any affiliation with this property. He is a three-time Shiv Sena politician in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, the Upper House of the state, and has handled the portfolios of transport and parliamentary affairs.
In this case, the lawmaker was previously questioned by the federal agency.
The money laundering case stems from a complaint filed by the Union environment and forest ministry against Anil Dattatray Parab, Sai Resort, Sea Conch Resort, and others for alleged violation of the Environment (Protection) Act, in addition to a state police FIR filed against the former minister and others for “deceiving and causing loss to the Maharashtra state government.”
ED’s investigation revealed that Parab and Sadanand Kadam, a Mumbai-based cable operator allegedly linked to Parab, obtained “illegal permission” from the local sub-divisional office for the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural land and the construction of a resort in Dapoli in violation of CRZ (coastal regulation zone) norms.
Dapoli, located around 230 kilometres from the state capital of Mumbai, is a picturesque coastal hill station known as Maharashtra’s “little Mahabaleshwar” due to its year-round temperate climate and healthy environs. Numerous real estate developments consisting of villas, row houses, and apartments are being constructed in the neighbourhood.
The ED said that Parab got “illegal” approval from the state revenue department for building of a twin bungalow (ground+1 floor) on a piece of land located under CRZ-III, i.e. no development zone, and then illegally constructed “Sai Resort NX” consisting of ground+2 levels.
It was said that Parab, with the objective to “conceal” his identity as the owner of the aforementioned asset, gained permission from the revenue department in the name of the previous owner, Vibhas Sathe, by “forging” his signature on the application made in this respect.
“Anil Parab also concealed from the gramme panchayat the fact that the aforementioned land is located within CRZ-III and exerted pressure on it to transfer the aforementioned land along with a building to his name, despite the fact that there was no mention of a building in the original sale document.
“He also defrauded the gramme panchayat by submitting a tax application before the whole construction of the building/resort was completed,” the ED stated.
The payment for construction of the resort was “deliberately made in cash” and construction began before the registration of land in the name of Anil Parab (even though payments were made and land was in his physical possession) in order to hide the identity of the real owner of the building, so that the onus could be shifted to Vibhas Sathe (the previous land owner) if the expenses made for the building construction and any violations come to light in the future, the ED said.
It is stated that when objections about the “illegal” building of Sai Resort NX surfaced, Parab sold the aforementioned land on paper to Sadanand Kadam in order to “conceal” the illegalities and irregularities.
In March of last year, as part of this investigation, the Income Tax Department conducted raids on a number of individuals reportedly associated with Parab, including Kadam and deputy regional transport officer Bajrang Kharmate.