A PMLA court in Mumbai on Monday sent Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut to judicial custody till August 22 in connection with a money-laundering case. Raut was arrested by ED on July 31 and remanded in ED’s custody till August 8 by a special court. On Monday, he was produced in the PMLA court again, which further extended his custody by two weeks.
Raut’s arrest on July 31 came after several hours of questioning. He was initially detained and later arrested. The ED said that Raut had ignored two summons issued to him asking him to appear before the agency for questioning in the Patra Chawl land scam case.
Raut’s arrest, which came amid severe turbulence within the Shiv Sena, also came as a big jolt to former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. “He is a real Shiv Sainik. A real Shiv Sainik never buckles under pressure,” Uddhav had said following Raut’s arrest.
The arrest also came amid allegations that the Centre had been misusing agencies against the Opposition. Raut himself claimed that the Maharashtra government fell because Centre used central agencies to threaten and intimidate its MLAs. He had also claimed that he received an offer to join ranks with the rebel MLAs but refused.
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Raut’s wife Varsha deposed before the Enforcement Directorate on Saturday, days after she was summoned by the central probe agency for questioning in connection with the money-laundering case.
Varsha Raut is believed to have been questioned along with and husband during the deposition on Saturday. During the last hearing when Sanjay Raut was produced before a special Mumbai court, the ED had claimed that an amount of Rs 1.8 crore was transferred to Varsha’s account. A cash amount of Rs 11.50 lakh was also seized from Raut’s residence at the time of his arrest.
Pravin Raut, the former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, is also an accused in the case and is alleged to be the frontman of the Shiv Sena MP in the Patra Chawl land scam.
(With agency inputs)