ED Arrests Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut In Patra Chawl Project Case

New Delhi: After nine hours of search, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Shive Sena leader Sanjay Raut late on Sunday night from his Bhandup residence. He is being produced before a court today, where the agency will seek his custody.

The ED detained and questioned him in connection with a case of alleged money laundering linked to the redevelopment of a chawl project in a northern suburb of Mumbai.

The redevelopment of a chawl project case

The ED is investigating alleged violations of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in a case pertaining to irregularities in the redevelopment of Patra Chawl by Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL). The agency had earlier arrested Pravin Raut, a close associate of Sanjay Raut, and attached properties belonging to the Shiv Sena leader’s wife, Varsha Raut.

Guru Ashish Construction had signed a tripartite agreement with the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), undertaking to provide flats to 672 tenants of Patra Chawl, develop flats for MHADA, and sell the remaining area to private developers.

However, the ED claims, that Pravin Raut and the other directors of Guru Ashish Constructions misled MHADA and sold the floor space index (FSI) to nine private developers, collecting Rs 901.79 crore, without constructing either the rehab portion for the 672 displaced tenants or the MHADA’s portion.

The agency has claimed that Pravin Raut received Rs 100 crore from HDIL and “diverted” it to various accounts of “his close associates, family member, his business entities” including the family of Sanjay Raut.

Raut has said that he is not linked to any of the companies being investigated by the ED, and that he would cooperate with the investigation. He has also denied all allegations and alleged that the ED’s action against him is part of a political witch hunt, The Indian Express reported.

“This is a fake investigation. Fake evidence has been gathered against me by threatening and assaulting people. This is part of a conspiracy to weaken Maharashtra and the Shiv Sena. This state and the Sena will never be weakened. Sanjay Raut will never bend and nor will he quit the Shiv Sena,” Raut told reporters while he was being taken away by the ED officials.

Late in the evening, sources in the ED claimed that unaccounted-for cash to the tune of Rs 11.5 lakh had been recovered from Raut’s residence.

Chief Minister  Eknath Shinde said the ED was doing the work it was mandated to do and was not acting under political pressure.

Shiv Sena rebel MLAs who had earlier criticised Raut and blamed him for pushing Uddhav Thackeray into the hands of the Congress-NCP, said the MP should face the consequences of his actions, the report added.

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