After spending three months in prison, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday was granted bail by a special court in connection with the Patra Chawl money laundering case. On October 21, the court had reserved its order after both sides concluded their arguments.
Raut was arrested on August 1 after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided his Bhandup residence and had seized Rs 11.5 lakh in cash during the day-long raid. Ahead of his arrest, Raut did not turn up before the ED despite repeated summons as he cited that he was busy with parliament proceedings.
Raut, who had previously alleged that the Centre against misuse of central agencies, said that his arrest was part of a “political vendetta,” terming it as a false case. Raut had denied any connection to the Patra Chawl redevelopment case, after ED claimed that Raut and his family received financial kickbacks from HDIL promoters after securing the project from MHADA.
Raut’s arrest had come amid a power struggle between the BJP-backed Eknath Shinde camp and Uddhav Thackeray faction over the control of the Shiv Sena party and Maharashtra. Raut was a key aide to Uddhav Thackeray throughout the tussle and was extremely critical of BJP’s role in engineering a regime change in the state.
Raut’s midnight arrest had resulted in widespread protests by the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction. Reacting to his arrest, Thackeray said, “I am proud of Sanjay Raut. It is a conspiracy to destroy us. We have to wipe out whoever speaks against us. A vendetta politics with such a mindset is going on.”