Tuesday, August 9, 2022

ED summons Sanjay Raut over money laundering investigation, Uddhav camp claims political vendetta against Raut

Sanjay Raut, a Shiv Sena leader, has received a new summons from the Enforcement Directorate, requiring him to appear before it on Wednesday for questioning in connection with a money laundering investigation involving alleged irregularities in the redevelopment of a Mumbai “chawl” and transactions involving his wife and “associates,” according to officials.

On July 1, he was questioned once in relation to this matter, and the investigating officer spoke with him for almost 10 hours. During that time, his statement was recorded in accordance with the penal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). “I provided complete cooperation and responded to all of their inquiries. If they contact me, I’ll show up again, Raut had assured the media as he left.

He claimed that because he has “not done anything wrong in life,” he is “fearless and undeterred.” The development occurs in the midst of a mutiny within the Shiv Sena, where Uddhav Thackeray, a former chief minister of Maharashtra, and Eknath Shinde, the current chief minister, are at odds over the party’s emblem and leadership of the organisation.

As part of this inquiry, the ED temporarily attached assets belonging to Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and two of his acquaintances in April totaling more than Rs 11.15 crore. The properties are land that Pravin M Raut, Sanjay Raut’s assistant and a former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, owns in the towns of Palghar, Saphale, and Padgha (in Thane district).

The ED had said that among these assets were a flat owned by Varsha Raut in the Mumbai district of Dadar and eight plots at Kihim Beach in Alibaug jointly owned by Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, the wife of Sujit Patkar, a “close colleague” of Sanjay Raut.

Sanjay Raut is being sought out by the agency in order to learn more about his “business and other relationships” with Pravin Raut and Patkar as well as the real estate transactions involving his wife. The ED had claimed that Pravin Raut appeared to be “operating as a front” or in cooperation with some powerful person after his arrest in February.

According to the agency, it was discovered that he made payments to a number of “politically exposed persons” during the investigation.

The agency had claimed that “cash” payments were made to the sellers in the Alibaug land purchase in addition to the registered value.

The ED detained Pravin Raut as part of an investigation into an alleged Rs 1,034 crore land fraud involving the redevelopment of the Patra “chawl” in Mumbai’s Goregaon neighbourhood. He is currently being held by authorities.

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