Thursday, September 29, 2022

“Will seek time”, says Sanjay Raut while refusing to appear before ED

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In the midst of Maharashtra’s political turmoil, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut declined to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday for interrogation in a money laundering case involving the redevelopment of Mumbai’s Patra Chawl and claimed he would “seek time.”

He said that he prefers to stay with the party in the time of crisis and will seek time from Enforcement Directorate. “I knew ED is going to summon me, I won’t kneel down. No matter what the rebel MLAs do, I will not go to Guwahati. I am Balasaheb’s Shiv Sainik and I will stay with my party. I will not appear before the ED tomorrow. I will seek time from ED, but will definitely go after some time,” Raut said addressing the media persons.

Soon after he received a summons from the Enforcement Directorate, Sanjay Raut on Monday alleged there was a conspiracy to stop him from fighting a big battle and said that even if he is beheaded, he “will not take the Guwahati route.”

According to official sources, the ED called the Shiv Sena leader for interrogation in a money laundering case on Tuesday. The action comes amid a political turmoil in Maharashtra, where renegade Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde have set up camp in Guwahati. Raut went on to say that Balasaheb’s Shivsainiks were engaged in a major struggle.

“I just came to know that ED has summoned me. Good! There are big political developments in Maharashtra. We, Balasaheb’s Shivsainiks are fighting a big battle. This is a conspiracy to stop me. Even if you behead me, I won’t take the Guwahati route. Arrest me!” tweeted Sanjay Raut

According to an individual familiar with the situation, Raut has been summoned to appear before ED investigators at its regional office in Mumbai at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

The summons was issued in connection with the redevelopment of Patra Chawl in Mumbai.

In connection with the redevelopment scam, the ED seized immovable assets worth Rs 11.15 crore in April this year, including a residence in Dadar owned by Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha and eight land parcels in Kihim near Alibag owned jointly by the latter and Swapna Patkar. Swapna is the wife of Sujit Patkar, a Sena leader’s close friend.

According to the federal agency, its inquiry indicated that around Rs 100 crore was moved from the real estate company, HDIL, to Pravin Raut’s account, who then diverted a portion of these monies to different accounts of his close colleagues, family members, and commercial companies.

Praveen Raut was a director of Guruashish Constructions, which is said to be a subsidiary of HDIL (Housing Development Infrastructure Limited), one of the defendants in the lawsuit. Pravin Raut had previously been arrested by the Maharashtra police’s economic crimes wing.

The ED’s summons of Raut, a confidant of Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, comes as the party faces rising difficulty in the aftermath of internal unrest.

The federal agency is also looking into a Rs 4,300 crore PMC Bank money laundering case involving Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut, who was questioned last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The agency is looking into her participation in an alleged bank loan fraud involving the transfer of Rs 55 lakh cash by the wife of an accused in the case, Pravin Raut, among other things.

The agency had alleged that Pravin Raut had “siphoned off “Rs 95 crore worth funds from the scam-hit bank in the garb of loan, out of which he paid Rs 1.6 crore to his wife Madhuri Raut who subsequently transferred Rs 55 lakh in two tranches to Varsha Raut, wife of Sanjay Raut, as “interest-free loan.”

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