After nine hours of search at his residence and six hours of questioning at the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) zonal office in south Mumbai, Shiv Sena Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut, belonging to the Uddhav Thackeray faction, was arrested by the directorate. The case pertains to money laundering linked to irregularities in a chawl redevelopment scam.
The Case Of Money Laundering
There were financial irregularities found in more than Rs 1,000 crore Patra Chawl redevelopment project, commissioned in 2002.
A tripartite agreement was signed by Guru Ashish Constructions Private Limited, a subsidiary of Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL), with the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).
The aim was to provide flats to 672 tenants of Patra Chawl, develop flats for MHADA, and sell the remaining area to private developers.
As per ED investigation, the directors of Guru Ashish Constructions, including a close associate of Sanjay Raut, Pravin Raut, sold the floor space index to private developers, while pocketing Rs 901.79 crore.
Pravin Raut received Rs 100 crore from HDIL, which he diverted to his close associates and family members including the family of Sanjay Raut.
Earlier in the year, ED had attached properties worth Rs 11.15 crore in the name of Sanjay Raut’s wife, Varsha Raut, and his two associates as part of the investigation.
The attached properties are in the form of land held by Pravin Raut at Palghar, Saphale (town in Palghar) and Padgha (in Thane district), 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.
During the raid, the agency found Rs 11.5 lakh of unaccounted-for cash at Raut’s residence.
Witness In The Case Threatened By Raut
On Sunday, an audio recording of a ‘conversation’ between Sanjay Raut and Swapna Patkar went viral. The MP was trying to intimidate Patkar, wife of his close associate and ED witness in the Patra Chawl case.
An FIR was registered against him under sections 504 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code at the Vakola Police Station on the charges of insulting the modesty of a woman.
Sanjay Raut has been trying to brave the storm through theatrics and intimidation. However, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s faction has distanced itself from the entire fiasco.