Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday was to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities involving the re-development of a Mumbai ‘chawl.’ The Rajya Sabha MP has denied any wrongdoing and alleged that he was being targeted due to political vendetta. Raut is a loyalist of former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray who was recently forced out of office following a rebellion and split in his party — the Shiv Sena. Raut has been asked to depose at the agency’s regional office in Mumbai.
He has been questioned once in this case on July 1 and spent about 10 hours with the investigating officer during which his statement was recorded under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
”I gave full cooperation and answered all their questions. I will appear again if they call me,” Raut had told reporters while exiting.
He said he was ”fearless and undaunted” as he has ”not done anything wrong in life”.
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The development comes amid a rebellion in the Shiv Sena with a tussle over party symbol and control of the organisation between former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on one side and current chief minister Eknath Shinde on the other.
In April, the ED provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 11.15 crore of Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of this investigation.
The attached properties are in the form of land held by Pravin M Raut, Sanjay Raut’s aide and a former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, at Palghar, Saphale (town in Palghar) and Padgha (in Thane district).
These properties also include a flat in Mumbai’s suburb Dadar held by Varsha Raut and eight plots at Kihim beach in Alibaug jointly held by Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar, a ”close associate” of Sanjay Raut, the ED had said.
The agency wants to question Sanjay Raut to know about his ”business and other links” with Pravin Raut and Patkar and also about the property deals involving his wife.
After arresting Pravin Raut in February, the ED had said he appears to be ”acting as a front” or in collusion with some influential person.
The agency had said during the probe it was revealed he made payments to certain ”politically exposed persons”.
In the Alibaug land deal, apart from the registered value, ”cash” payments were made to the sellers, the agency had alleged.
Pravin Raut was arrested by the ED in a probe linked to a Rs 1,034 crore alleged land scam related to the re-development of the Patra ‘chawl’ in Mumbai’s Goregaon area. He is in judicial custody at present.
Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd was involved in the re-development of the ‘chawl’ which had 672 tenants in tenements on 47 acres belonging to the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA), the ED had said earlier.