The Enforcement Director has summoned Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday for questioning in a money laundering probe linked to the re-development of Mumbai’s Patra Chawl. The Rajya Sabha MP has been asked to depose before the federal agency at its office in south Mumbai on June 28 and record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Reacting to the ED summons, Raut said that the “conspiracy” by the agency will not stop him in fighting the “big battle”. “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!” he tweeted.
The development comes as the Shiv Sena party battles rebellion from a group of its MLAs, putting a question mark on the future of Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. The Shiv Sena, along with MVA allies NCP and Congress, have alleged that the rebellion by Eknath Shinde is a result of the “pressure of ED, CBI and other central agencies”.
In April this year, the ED had provisionally attached immovable properties worth ₹11.15 crore, including a flat at Dadar, held by Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha and eight land parcels at Kihim near Alibag, jointly held by the latter with Swapna Patkar, in connection with the redevelopment scam. Swapna is the wife of Sujit Patkar, a close associate of the Sena leader.
The agency said its investigation revealed that around Rs 100 crore was transferred from the real estate company, HDIL, to the account of Pravin Raut, who in turn diverted part of these funds to various accounts of his close associates, family members, and business entities.
“In 2010, part of these proceeds amounting to Rs 83 lakh was received by Varsha Raut, directly/indirectly from Pravin Raut’s wife Madhuri. This amount was utilised by Varsha for purchasing the flat at Dadar,” ED said and added that after initiation of investigation by the agency, Varsha transferred Rs 55 lakh back to Madhuri.
The agency had initiated the money-laundering probe on the basis of Mumbai Police’s economic offences wing’s March 2018 FIR registered against Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, Rakesh Kumar Wadhwan, Sarang Kumar Wadhwan, Pravin Raut, and others on the basis of a complaint filed by a MHADA officer.