Mumbai court grants bail to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in money laundering case

After being questioned for nine hours on June 28, Sanjay Raut was arrested on August 1 by the ED on allegations of money laundering

After being questioned for nine hours on June 28, Sanjay Raut was arrested on August 1 by the ED on allegations of money laundering

A special court in Mumbai granted bail to Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut in a 2018 chawl redevelopment case related to irregularities.

Mr. Raut belongs to Uddhav Thackeray’s camp and will be released from Arthur Road Jail in a bail plea filed on September 7 contending allegations against him is a perfect example of abuse of power and political vendetta.

After being questioned for nine hours on June 28, he was arrested on August 1 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on allegations of money laundering and irregularities pertaining to the redevelopment of the Patra Chawl in Mumbai’s Goregaon. It is alleged by the ED that the developers, one of them is a close associate of Mr. Raut, fraudulently made ₹1,039.79 crore from this scheme and Mr. Raut also benefited from the same. On August 8, Mr. Raut was sent to judicial custody. The ED had previously attached assets belonging to Mr. Raut and questioned his wife Varsha in this case.

On August 4, a special prevention of money laundering act (PMLA) court had recorded in its order, “It is a fact that the money trail of ₹1.17 crore and ₹1.08 crore did not come before the court. Some more amount has been revealed by the ED along with bank statements, I am of the opinion that there is legitimate progress in investigation and certain facts need to be probed by summoning witnesses and confronting the accused.”

The ED’s charge sheet mentions, “Mr. Raut has played a major role in the offence through his proxy and confidant Pravin Raut. The accused was fully involved in the offence of money laundering through Pravin Raut who was the director of Guru Ashish Construction Private Limited which was engaged for redevelopment of Patra chawl.”

“Mr. Raut is accused of utilizing proceeds of crime amounting to ₹3,27,85,475 in creating assets apart from spending the money on pleasure trips and other expenses,” the ED alleged.

The case dates to March 2018 when a First Information Report was registered under the provision of PMLA against M/s Guru Ashish Construction, Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited’s (HDIL) promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan on basis of complaint filed by an executive engineer of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development (MHADA). According to the ED, M/s Guru Ashish Construction was entrusted with the development of Patra chawl project for rehabilitation of 672 tenants in 47 acres of land. During the relevant time, the Wadhawan brothers and Pravin Raut were the directors of M/s Guru Ashish Construction.

As per the agreement, the developer was to provide flats to the tenants and develop flats for MHADA and thereafter the remaining area was to be sold by the developer. The ED however alleged that the directors of M/s Guru Ashish Constructions misled MHADA and managed to sell the floor space index to nine developers and collected approximately ₹901.79 crore without constructing the rehab portion for 672 displaced tenants and MHADA portion.

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