RTIwala Corruption on Baba Siddique: Since last four months, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been collating all the required evidence against Congress leader Baba Siddique and eight other accused in the Rs 500 crore SRA scam. Last week, the final sets of documents were handed over to the agency by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) in Mumbai.
In June 2017, he was questioned for at least nine hours by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the SRA scam. The investigators have started an in-depth analysis of the documents submitted by SRA, before it could implement its next action-plan. It is said that for almost a month, the agency was waiting for some crucial documents from SRA. It includes hundreds of ration-cards, agreement copies, etc. from 2004-05 to the present.
WHAT LIES AHEAD OF BABA SIDDIQUE NOW?
Once the examination of documents is done, the ED is likely to issue summon to Baba Siddique again for the second round of interrogation. According to sources, Siddiqui had denied all allegations of financial irregularities, money laundering and allegedly used the ‘religion-card’ before the investigators. The statements of about 10 individuals have been recorded including the accused directors of Pyramid Developers and Pioneer India. The key officials of Satra Group, alleged partner of Pyramid in a super-luxurious residential project located right opposite Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai have also been investigated. Each apartment in this project is priced at around Rs 25 crore.
In May 2017, the ED had filed an Enforcement Case Investigation Report (ECIR) against Baba Siddique along with eight others (total 9) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). They suspected foul play in a Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project, worth Rs 500 crore. Subsequently, searches were conducted at seven locations in Mumbai.
The agency is investigating if the three-time MLA from Bandra region had misused his position as the chairman of MHADA to violate the FSI rules. It is assumed that he helped Pyramid Developers to bag this residential project from Satra Group.
The ED suspects Pyramid and Pioneer are two front companies floated by Siddique and the money created by the sale of flats in the Bandra project was laundered to create his assets.
Baba Siddique And His Real Foul Play
The entire plot of Jamaat-e-Jamoori slum at Bandra Reclamation, which got converted into an SRA colony, was developed at the cost of Rs 90 crore. The construction cost of converting that slum into an SRA colony was managed and financed by Pyramid Developers. But Pyramid was getting funding by another layer of the company named Pioneer (India) Developers Pvt Ltd.
Seized documents have revealed that at the time of development of these SRA buildings in the year 2003, both companies were not having funds more than Rs 10-15 crore in its bank accounts. The claims by the ED say that they have enough documents to prove the reality in front of everyone.
(Inputs by Gehna Kundra)