After Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut skipped Enforcement Directorate’s multiple summons in connection with the Patra Chawl land scam case, the central agency raided the Rajya Sabha MP’s house in Mumbai on Sunday. The central probing agency arrived along with CRPF officials as they searched Raut’s residence in Bandup, located in Mumbai’s eastern suburbs.
The last summon that was issued to Raut to depose before the ED was on July 27. He had also skipped an earlier summon, stating that he was unavailable due to the ongoing Monsoon session at the Parliament. As the ED continued to search his Mumbai residence, Raut tweeted, “Long live Shiv Sena. Will continue to fight.”
The ED is probing Raut, his wife Varsha Raut and his close associates in connection with the alleged financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 1,034 crore in the re-development of Mumbai’s ‘Patra Chawl’. Raut, who is a close aide of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has time and again denied any wrongdoing and blamed the Central government for conducting a political witch-hunt against Opposition leaders including him.
Raut had appeared before the ED on July 1 where he was questioned for 10 hours. The ED has already attached assets of Raut and his family members worth Rs 11.15 crore under the anti-money laundering law Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The attached assets included eight land parcels at Alibaug, valued at Rs 9 crore and a flat at Mumbai’s Dadar worth Rs 2 crore, suspected to be proceeds of the crime.
What is the Patra Chawl land scam case?
In 2008, the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) had taken up a project to develop the chawl, which contained 672 houses spread across 47 acres, at Goregaon’s Siddharth Nagar. The contract was subsequently awarded to Guru Ashish Construction Private Limited (GACPL). Ever since the contract between MHADA and GACPL has been signed, the slum dwellers in Patra Chawl are still waiting for their homes.
As per the agreement, GACPL was supposed to relocate and provide flats to the displaced tenants in the slum, and to sell the remaining plot to private developers. According to ED, Pravin Raut, a close aide of Sanjay Raut, along with other members of GACPL misled MHADA and sold the floor space index (FSI) to nine private developers for Rs 901.79 crore without constructing homes for the 672 displaced tenants.
GACPL, then, launched a project named Meadows wherein it collected Rs 138 crore booking amount from flat buyers. The total amount generated by the GACPL from the transactions amount to Rs 1,039.79 crore, the ED has claimed. GACPL is a subsidiary of the Housing Development Infrastructure Ltd. (HDIL), which is also under the ED lens for an alleged fraud worth Rs 4,300 crore at the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank. The ED further claimed that Pravin Raut on receiving Rs 100 crore from HDIL ‘diverted’ it to several accounts of close aides, including Sanjay Raut and his family.