Pawar to Raj and Now Raut, ED Sword Hangs Over Heads of Maha Netas
Sanjay Raut is not the first high-profile politician of Maharashtra to have faced the wrath of the central agency.
“In the last one year, Sharad Pawar, Eknath Khadse and Pratap Sarnaik got notices and now you all are discussing my name,” said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in a press conference on Monday, 28 December after his wife Varsha Raut was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case related to the PMC bank scam.
Raut lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for ‘going after the women of the household’ for political vendetta.
While his wife has snubbed the summons and sought time till 5 January to appear for questioning, Raut is not the first high-profile politician of Maharashtra to have faced the wrath of the central agency.
What Exactly is the Case Against Varsha Raut?
Sources told The Quint that Varsha Raut has been summoned over a transaction that was made to her account in alleged relation to the PMC Bank scam.
A transaction of Rs 55 lakh was allegedly made to Varsha’s account from the account of Pravin Raut’s wife, who is a family friend of Sanjay Raut.
Pravin Raut has already been questioned while the investigation of the case was underway by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and is one of the suspects in the Rs 6,500 crore PMC Bank scam.
List of Maharashtra Leaders ‘Targeted’ By the ED
Eknath Khadse, one of the senior-most leaders of the BJP, who recently joined the NCP after allegedly being sidelined by the party, has also received summons by the agency.
Khadse has been summoned in a case related to alleged MIDC land scam in Bhosri near Pune.
The Fadnavis-led government had constituted a committee to probe the scam , following which Khadse was forced to resign from the Cabinet. The ED too is conducting an investigation in parallel.
The ED filed a case of money laundering against NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and his nephew and current deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar in a case related to the alleged Sahkari bank scam.
According to the FIR filed, the alleged scam that took place between 1 January 2007 and 31 March 2017 cost Rs 25,000 crore to the government treasury. At least 70 others, all former post-holders of the bank, have also been accused in the case.
The summons sent to Pawar, right before the Maharashtra Assembly elections last year, had given the matter a more intense political colour. Pawar, who took the ‘challenge’ head on, himself offered to appear before the agency a day before he was actually summoned, turning the political tide in his favour.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray, too, has visited the ED office for probing the alleged irregularities relating to loans and equity investment worth over Rs 450 crore by IL&FS (Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services) in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company. It was developing the Kohinoor Square tower in Mumbai's Dadar area.
Former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi's son, Unmesh Joshi, was also summoned in the case.
Senior NCP leader Praful Patel too was questioned by the ED for over 12 hours last year over alleged money laundering in relation with Dawood Ibrahim’s aide Iqbal Mirchi’s illegal assets .
The ED questioned Patel over alleged contract between him and Mirchi for the CJ house property in south Mumbai in 2007. Mirchi’s kin had allegedly transferred the third and the fourth floor of the building to Patel’s name, a fact that was revealed while making a sales deal which had Patel’s signature as the co-owner. However, there has been no development in the case since.
An investigation has recently begun in a case against Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik and his sons Vihang and Purvesh for alleged money laundering
The ED had reportedly launched searches at ten properties of Sarnaik, Tops Group and its promoter Rahul Nanda in Mumbai and Thane.
Amit Chandole, an alleged associate of Pratap Sarnaik, and Tops Group Managing Director M Shashidharan were also arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The case relates to a complaint lodged by Ramesh Iyyer, a former employee of Tops Group, alleging that in 2014, under a contract with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for supply of 350 to 500 security guards, the security firm provided only 70 percent of the agreed number.
Iyyer alleged that some of the money paid by the MMRDA was transferred to private accounts of the accused.
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