ED summons Sanjay Raut over land scam

By, New Delhi
Jun 28, 2022 01:40 AM IST

The summons came at a time the Shiv Sena is battling rebellion from a group of its MLAs and struggling to save the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut for questioning on Tuesday in an alleged money laundering case linked to the redevelopment of Patra Chawl in Mumbai’s Goregaon area and financial transactions purportedly involving his wife, Varsha Raut, officials familiar with the matter said.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has been summoned by the ED on Tuesday. (PTI)
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has been summoned by the ED on Tuesday. (PTI)

The summons came at a time the Shiv Sena is battling rebellion from a group of its MLAs and struggling to save the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

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Terming the ED notice a “conspiracy” to stop him from fighting against their political opponents, Raut said he would not be able to appear before the agency on Tuesday as he has to attend a meeting in Alibaug.

The Sena MP has been asked to depose before the ED at its office in south Mumbai and record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the officials cited above said, seeking anonymity.

The federal agency’s probe is based on a first information report (FIR) filed by Mumbai Police’s economic offences wing (EOW) in 2018 against Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan, promoters of real estate company Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) and main accused in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) bank fraud case, where the promoters are accused of conspiring with bank officials to conceal defaults on loans by HDIL.

The other accused in the case are Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary company of HDIL which undertook the redevelopment project in the Mumbai chawl and its director, Pravin Raut, among others, the officials said.

A tripartite agreement was signed between the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), Guru Ashish Construction and tenants for redevelopment of Patra Chawl in Goregaon in 2008. Under the agreement, the developer had to provide flats to rehabilitate 672 tenants as well as build a certain number of flats for MHADA before selling off the remaining area, officials said.

The ED probe revealed that Guru Ashish misled MHADA and collected 901.79 crore without constructing the rehabilitation flats for 672 displaced tenants and for MHADA. Subsequently, the company launched another project, Meadows, in the same area and collected 138 crore from flat buyers.

The total proceeds of the alleged crime generated by Wadhawans and Pravin Raut and identified by the ED is around 1,039.79 crore, part of which was reportedly transferred to close associates of HDIL, including Pravin Raut, the officials added.

Pravin, who was arrested on February 2, is believed to be a confidante of Sanjay Raut, officials said. He is also an accused in the PMC bank fraud case.

In a statement in April this year, the ED said that an amount of approximately 100 crore was transferred from the account of HDIL to that of Pravin Raut between 2008 and 2010.

“This amount was further diverted by Pravin Raut to various accounts of his close associates, family members, his business entities, etc. It is also revealed that during 2010, part of the proceeds of crime amounting to 83 lakhs was received by Varsha Raut, wife of Sanjay Raut, directly/indirectly from Madhuri Pravin Raut, wife of Pravin Raut,” the statement said.

While Varsha Raut used the money to purchase a flat in Dadar, she transferred 55 lakh back to Madhuri Pravin Raut after a money laundering probe was launched into the matter in 2018, ED said. Besides, eight plots of land at Kihim beach in Alibaug were purchased in the name of Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar who is another associate of Sanjay Raut, ED said.

“In this land deal, apart from the registered value, cash payments were made to the sellers,” the agency said in its statement.

As part of its probe, ED has attached properties worth 11.15 crore in April, including the flat in Dadar and plots in Kihim, officials said.

ED attached Pravin Raut’s immovable assets worth 72.6 crore in connection with the PMC bank fraud case in December 2020.

Pravin Raut’s counsel Ajay Bhise said his client has been falsely implicated in the case.

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