EOW questions Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar over ‘Rs 500 crore scam’

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police is questioning Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar as part of its preliminary enquiry (PE) into a complaint filed by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya alleging that Waikar was involved in a Rs 500 crore scam.

A senior EOW officer confirmed the development to The Indian Express and said that Waikar was summoned. He appeared before EOW officials on Saturday and is being questioned.

As per Somaiya’s allegation, Waikar fraudulently obtained approval for the construction of a five-star hotel on a plot reserved for a garden by using his clout and caused a huge loss to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The EOW has already investigated senior officials from the BMC’s garden and tree department and building proposals department.

Waikar had previously termed Somaiya’s allegations as false and baseless and had said that he had all the documents of the said plot and that no rule or law had been violated.

The EOW conducts a PE on every complaint it receives. If substantial facts surface suggesting that a cognizable offence is committed, an FIR is registered for further investigation and prosecution. If no sufficient material is found in the enquiry, the PE is closed.

In March this year, Somaiya had submitted a complaint to the Azad Maidan police station about the alleged scam and it was transferred to the EOW for further probe.

In his police complaint, the former BJP MP claimed that on July 26, 2021, the BMC had approved a five-star hotel on plot numbers 1-B and 1-C in Vyarvali village, Jogeshwari JVLR, which is personally owned by Waikar and some others. Somaiya claimed that the said plot was reserved for a garden or a park and was being used for construction by Waikar and his other partners.

Somaiya had alleged that the BMC’s building proposal department had illegally approved the hotel, an illegal benefit of Rs 500 crore was made from this deal and that an annual turnover of Rs 500 crore was expected after its construction.

The BJP leader sought an FIR against the owners of the plot, Waikar and others and the officers involved in the illegal approvals under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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