Sujit Patkar retracts statements given to ED during custody | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Sujit Patkar retracts statements given to ED during custody

Aug 11, 2023 12:47 AM IST

In his plea filed through his lawyer Subhash Jha before the special court, Patkar stated that he was arrested by the ED on July 19, and during the course of the investigation several of his statements were recorded “under duress, force, coercion and undue influence” between July 21 and July 26

MUMBAI: Sujit Patkar, a close friend of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut, has moved a plea before the special PMLA court, retracting his statement recorded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) during his custodial interrogation. Patkar, who was arrested by the ED in connection with the alleged irregularities in awarding contracts for two jumbo Covid centres in Mumbai, said that his firm had four partners, but he was singled out and arrested for political reasons. The court has asked the ED to respond to his plea.

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In his plea filed through his lawyer Subhash Jha before the special court, Patkar stated that he was arrested by the ED on July 19, and during the course of the investigation several of his statements were recorded “under duress, force, coercion and undue influence” between July 21 and July 26.

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“Since the statements, which seek to implicate the Accused No 1 and other accused, have been recorded under duress, coercion, undue influence and force, [they] are retracted herewith and the same [may] be not acted upon and/or read in evidence in any proceeding,” added the plea.

Patkar has also highlighted the fact that though there were four partners in the firm, he was singled out. “It needs to be stated here that there are four partners in the partnership of Lifeline Hospital Management Services, viz Dr Hemant Ramcharan Gupta (30%), Sujit Mukund Patkar (30%), Sanjay Madanraj Shah 20%, and Rajiv Salunkhe (20%), and the Accused No 1 has been singled out and his arrest effected as he is perceived to be close to certain politicians,” states the plea. “The arrest of the Accused No 1 is actuated by malafide and is politically motivated.”

Patkar was a partner in Lifeline Hospital Management Services (LHMS), which bagged a 38-crore civic contract to supply medical manpower to the Jumbo Covid Centres in Worli and Dahisar during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The firm is accused of receiving around 31.84 crore from the BMC as part of the contract even though between 50 and 60 per cent of the medical and paramedical staff at the centres for which it had billed the civic body were allegedly non-existent.

A senior BMC health official, Dr Kishore Bisure, who headed the civic medical team at the Dahisar jumbo centre, has also been arrested for allegedly conniving with the firm to approve its dubious bills related to manipulated attendance sheets of the Covid centre employees. The ED claimed that Bisure received a laptop, cash and funds in his driver’s account.

According to ED sources, 22 crore of the 31.84 crore paid by BMC to the firm was diverted for non-scheduled purposes, and a substantial amount of it—around 6.50 crore—went to Patkar.

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