INDIA. Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case was remanded to ED custody till August 04, by the Judge M G Deshpande of the Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Court on Monday.
Judge MG Deshpande turned down the request by ED for 8-day custody and instead said that custody till August 04 would suffice. “I think that such a long custody of 8 days is not warranted”, he ordered. The Court also noted that Raut is a heart patient and had undergone surgery and said that during ED custody, he may be given some rest rather than interrogated till late at night.
Raut was arrested by the central agency late on Sunday night in connection with a money laundering case linked to the redevelopment of the Patra Chawl project in Goregaon in North Mumbai and related transactions involving his wife and ‘associates’.
The ED is investigating an alleged violation of PMLA in a case about the irregularities in the redevelopment of Patra Chawl by Guru Ashish Construction Private Ltd (GACPL) a subsidiary of HDIL. GACPL former director Pravin Raut and close associate of Sanjay arrested earlier, is already in ED custody,
On Monday, the ED stated that Sanjay Raut was involved in a Rs 112 crore illegal deal. Of this transaction worth Rs 1.6 crore has been tracked. ED Counsel Hiten Venegaonkar said that the generation of proceeds of crime, directly benefited Raut and his family members and all these actions fall under section 3 of the PMLA.
Venegaonkar contended that Pravin Raut received around Rs.112 crore from HDIL in 2010. Pravin, Sanjay, along with HDIL promoters Kapil and Sarang Wadhawan conspired to siphon off monies from the Patra Chawl project by illegally selling the FSI (the maximum permissible floor area, that a builder can build on a particular plot/piece of land) to third parties for huge money.
In April, the ED attached assets worth over Rs 11.15 crore of Raut’s wife Varsha and two of his associates. The attached properties comprise land held by GACPL, at Saphale (a town in Palghar district) and Padgha (in Thane district).
The second leg of allegations against Sanjay Raut is regarding the purchase of certain land parcels at Alibaug in the Raigad district. The Shiv Sena MP reportedly utilized a considerable amount of cash, sourced from Pravin Raut, to purchase land, the ED counsel said.
Senior Advocate Ashok Mundargi appearing for Sanjay Raut, pointed out that the offence is from 2018 and the ECIR was registered in 2021. Pravin Raut was arrested in January/ February of this year. The allegations are vague and the case has been raked up due to a change in the political atmosphere.
About the alleged non-cooperation of Sanjay Raut with the probe, Mundargi said that, “He had communicated that he was busy in elections (RS, Legislative council, Presidential election) and was also attending Parliament’s monsoon session in New Delhi. He was not running away from the investigation. The need to arrest him has to be taken with a pinch of salt.”
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