ED Detains Sanjay Raut; 'Conspiracy to Finish Off Party,' Says Uddhav Thackeray
Sanjay Raut, detained in land scam case, claims action against him is not based on evidence.
On Sunday, 31 July, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials detained Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut in connection to a land scam case. His house was raided for hours before he was detained. Outside ED's office, Raut told reporters that 'ED will arrest me, but I won't bow down'.
“They (ED) are going to arrest me. I am going to be arrested,” Raut said. He further added that “Zukega nahi (I won't bow down)".
His advocate Vikrant Sabne, however, said that 'ED did not take any documents related to Patra Chawl'.
"We've accepted fresh summons, Sanjay Raut has been brought for questioning. They (ED) already took documents that they felt were important. Some property documents were seized. But no documents related to Patra Chawl were taken by them," said Sabne.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed party members at his house and said, "There is a conspiracy to finish off the party."
This is after Raut is believed to have skipped two summons for questioning in a money laundering case connected with the redevelopment of Patra Chawl in Mumbai. The last summon he skipped was reportedly on 27 July.
Shortly after the raids ensued on his premises, Raut took to Twitter to say:
"Maharashtra and Shiv Sena will continue the fight.”
He also claimed that the action against him is false and based on false evidence.
Sanjay raut outside his residence on Sunday.
(Photo: Video Screengrab)
Shiv Sena activists stage a protest after party leader Sanjay Raut was detained by ED in an alleged land scam case, in Pune, Sunday, 31 July.
Shiv Sena workers gather outside the residence of the party MP Sanjay Raut after his premises were raided by ED officials, in Mumbai, on Sunday, 31 July.
Security personnel stand guard at the residence of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut during a raid by by ED officials, in Mumbai, on Sunday, 31 July.
"Fake probe... fake evidences... I won't quit the Shiv Sena. I shall die but won't surrender to them. Jai Maharashtra."
"I swear to Shiv Sena Pramukh Bal Thackeray that I have no connection with any scam. He taught us to keep fighting. I will keep fighting for the Shiv Sena," added Raut.
During the last interrogation on 1 July, which went on for 10 hours, Raut recorded his statement under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
He is being investigated in a money laundering probe linked to the re-development of a Mumbai 'chawl' and other related financial transactions involving his wife and friends.
After coming out of the ED office on 1 July, Raut had said, "It is our duty to go in front of the central agencies if they have any doubt in their minds so that people do not have any doubt in their minds about us. We were questioned for 10 hours and we gave full cooperation," news agency ANI reported.
Thackeray Calls ED Raid Conspiracy to Finish Off Party
While addressing party members at his house 'Matoshree,' he said, "ED guests are at Sanjay Raut's house. He may get arrested. What conspiracy is this? Shiv Sena gives strength to Hindus and Marathi people and hence there is a conspiracy to finish off the party."
The Patra 'Chawl' Case Against Raut
Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd was involved in the redevelopment of the Patra 'chawl,' which had 672 tenants in tenements on 47 acres belonging to the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA), the ED had said earlier. Guru Ashish is a subsidiary company of the Housing Development Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL).
HDIL is under investigation by the ED and few other agencies in connection with the almost Rs 4,300 crore alleged fraud at the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank. The ED said that Guru Ashish had entered into a "tripartite agreement" with the tenants and MHADA to redevelop the 'chawl.'
The ED claims that according to the agreement the developer had to provide flats to 672 tenants and develop flats for MHADA. Thereafter, the remaining area was to be sold by the developer.
"The directors of Guru Ashish Constructions mislead MHADA and managed to sell the FSI (floor space index) to nine developers and collected about Rs 901.79 crore without constructing the rehab portion for 672 displaced tenants and MHADA portion," it said.
The ED probe, conducted so far, found that "around Rs 100 crore were transferred from HDIL to the account of Pravin Raut."
This amount was further "diverted" by Pravin Raut to various accounts of his close associates, family member, his business entities etc, it said.
ED's investigations found that an amount of Rs 55 lakh was transferred back by Varsha Raut to Madhuri Raut. There are various other transactions too, it said.
Raut's Properties Attached
The agency had questioned Varsha Raut last year in connection with the PMC Bank case and her purported links with Pravin Raut's wife.
On 5 April, the ED attached Raut's property in connection with the Rs 1,034 crore Patra Chawl land scam case, a plot in Alibaug and a flat in Mumbai's Dadar.
"ED provisionally attached assets totalling Rs 11.15 crore, in form of land held by Pravin Raut, ex-director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, a Dadar flat of Varsha Raut, wife of Sanjay Raut & Alibaug plots jointly held by Varsha Raut & Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar," the ED had said in a statement in April.
Raut had earlier told journalists that he was being targeted for the past two years with the action against him, only after some persons pressured him to bring down the government in Maharashtra. He added that he had already informed chairman of the Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu about the matter.
Responding to the seizure, Raut said, "Please understand the meaning of property. Am I Vijay Mallya, Am I Mehul Choksi? Am I Nirav Modi or Ambani, Adani? I live in a small house. I don't have a single acre of land in my native place. Whatever I have is hard-earned money. Does the agency feel there is money laundering? Whom are you linking me with?"
(With inputs from ANI and NDTV.)
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