Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Sanjeev Jaiswal, who is facing a probe launched by the Enforcement Directorate into the alleged Covid jumbo centres scam, was stopped last week at the Mumbai International Airport from flying to Sri Lanka as the financial probe agency has issued a Look Out Circular in his name, said sources.
A Look Out Circular is issued to prevent a person, who is a suspect or an accused or is facing investigation by government agencies, from fleeing the country.
According to sources, Jaiswal was flying with his wife and claimed that he had secured due permission from the state government. Despite that, the IAS officer and his wife were barred from flying out of the country.
One of the key suspects in the Covid jumbo centre scam, Jaiswal has been already questioned by the ED in the case for over six hours last month. His statement was also recorded.
A 1996-batch IAS officer, Jaiswal is currently the Vice-President and CEO of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). He was the additional municipal commissioner in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) when the alleged Covid-19 jumbo centre scam took place.
Jaiswal’s assets worth over Rs 100 crore, including investments and fixed deposits, are under the radar of the ED.
The agency has identified his nearly two dozens properties (including a half-acre land in Madh island) that is estimated to be more than Rs 100 crore. Last month, when ED raided his Bandra residence, they seized Rs 13 lakh in cash.
Jaiswal was one of the few key signatories, besides the BMC commissioner, who was involved in the process of awarding contracts to Lifeline Hospital Management Services, a firm co-owned by Sujit Patkar, a close aide of Shiv Sena UBT MP Sanjay Raut. The ED is checking if he had received any kickback from the Lifeline Hospital Management Services to award the contract to them or if he acted under the influence or pressure of someone.
According to sources in the ED, it is suspected that Jaiswal was in complete know about the gross irregularities and knowingly signed the key approval documents as a member of the tender committee. He could have opposed it, which he chose not to for reasons best known to him, said another sources in the ED. The agency is trying to find out what criteria were followed while awarding contracts to Sujit Patkar’s firm.
Last month, the ED conducted raids on 19 premises in Mumbai and other places in connection with its investigation into the Rs 38 crore Covid jumbo centre scam.
The ED also raided several places belonging to Jaiswal with the IAS officer claiming that these properties are his family’s ancestral properties and some have been gifted by his in-laws.
The ED’s probe is based on a case registered by the Mumbai police in August 2022 at Azad Maidan police station on a complaint by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya. In October 2022, the case was transferred to the Mumbai police’s Economic Offences Wing. Later, the ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The case relates to the field hospitals set up in Mumbai by the government during the Covid-19 pandemic. The BMC was looking after providing healthcare staff and other facilities on a contract basis.
The BJP alleged that contracts were given at exorbitant rates to contractors linked to Shiv Sena leaders, despite the fact that they did not have prior experience in healthcare services.
According to ED sources, there was gross misappropriation of funds in the awarding of contracts for setting up the Covid field centres. Some money was utilised while the rest was siphoned off by making fake entries in the name of doctors in the records, said the ED.
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