Mumbai(dna): The Bombay High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for dragging their feet in the inquiry against former state minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Sunil Tatkare, who is accused of money laundering and land grabbing.
“How long will you (ED and ACB) take to complete the inquiry? It has been three years. What have you done since three years? Since the petition has been filed all that we have been doing is collecting envelopes with reports in it. Tell us whether you have arrived at any conclusion,” said a division bench of justices N H Patil and S B Shukre.
The rap on the knuckles came during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who is also a Lok Sabha member, seeking a CBI probe into alleged money laundering and land grabbing by various companies floated by Tatkare and his relatives.
In 2012, the HC had directed ED and ACB to investigate into the allegations and submit reports. However, nothing concrete has been done so far. Upset over the inordinate delay, the bench added, “This is going on endlessly. At this rate your inquiry will never end. By now you should have arrived at some conclusion whether there is prima facie material against Tatkare or not. We are not a court of inquiry to hear the matter endlessly.”
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for ED, and government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, who represented ACB, told the court that the agencies had begun an open inquiry only six months ago and would require three more months to complete the probe.
Tatkare’s counsel Aspi Chinoy contended that the PIL was not maintainable and the petitioner had alternate remedy to either approach the police to register an FIR or approach a magistrate court. Hence the PIL should be dismissed, argued Chinoy.
The court adjourned the matter for two weeks and directed Somaiya to consider approaching police. Somaiya has listed 51 companies formed by Tatkare which have his family members and friends as directors, and alleged that they purchased benami lands in Maharashtra, and indulged in money laundering, causing loss to the public exchequer.