INDIA: In a recent finding, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a supplementary charge sheet against Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for being the prime accused in the siphoning off proceeds of crime (POC) in the multi-crore Patra Chawl redevelopment project.
The Rajya Sabha member was logged into custody on August 1 by the anti-money laundering agency in connection with illegitimate financial irregularities and refurbishment of the Chawl in suburban Goregaon.
The ED, in the chart sheet, claimed, “Based on new evidence that has surfaced, it appears Sanjay Raut may have also played a major role along with other accused due to which POC (proceeds of crime) were siphoned off instead of the utilization of the same for the tenants and other buyers who had booked their flats with developers and put their hard-earned money.”
Sanjay Raut and his aides were held in jail for partnering in the revamping of Patra Chawl (chawls are rows of tenements/tiny apartments). The case also arranged a meeting with the then-chief minister of 2007, discussing the financial implication and key points of the well-heeled project.
The entire case revolves around Siddharth Nagar, mostly known as Patra Chawl, an area primarily located in Goregaon, a northern Mumbai suburb. It supports housing to nearly 672 rooms, spreading over 47 acres of land.
In 2008, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) redirected the project of redesigning the chawl to Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd (GACPL), a sister company of HDIL (Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd).
GACPL thereby proposed to build 672 flats for people there and apartments for state housing agency MHDA and the remaining land is to be put on sale to privately owned companies.
However, the company never kicked off the chawl development nor built any flats that were to be handed over to MHADA and sold land parcels and the Floor Space Index (FSI) to other builders for Rs 1,034 crore. The GACPL took advantage and inaugurated its project called ‘The Meadows’ and started taking booking amounts of Rs 138 crore from flat buyers.
The case came to light, and the probe agency looked into the matter, which resulted in the revelation of the entire scam. Pravin Raut, a close associate of Sanjay Raut and other directors of GACPL, deduced MHADA and also the Maharashtra government and sold the FSI to other real estate developers for Rs 901.79 crore. The project never came into existence, and they entirely cheated the government.