Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last night in Mumbai in connection with a money laudnering scam. The probe agency has been given Raut's custody till August 4 even though the ED had sought an eight-day remand, arguing that Raut could 'tamper with evidence'. Raut has been accused in the Patra Chawl land scam and was arrested from his Bhandup residence after ED raids on Sunday night. Raut had skipped several summons sent by the central probe agency in connection with the case.
A Mumbai court remanded Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut to ED custody till August 4 in a money laundering case. Raut was arrested earlier today after the ED picked him up for questioning on Sunday. @boomlive_in— Ritika Jain (@riotsjain) August 1, 2022
"You cannot defeat the person who refuses to be defeated," Raut tweeted on Sunday while his house was being raided by the ED officials. Shiv Sena workers protested at several places in Mumbai over the senior party leader's arrest.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray visited Raut's family after his arrest. Here is what the case is about:
What is Patra Chawl scam?
Patra Chawl, also known as Siddharth Nagar, is located in the northern Mumbai suburb of Goregaon. The area, spread over an area of 47 acres, has 672 houses. In 2008, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) sanctioned the redevelopment of the area. Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd (GACPL) got the agreement the rehabilitate 672 tenants there and to redevelop the area.
Fourteen years since then, the stakeholders are waiting for the allocation of the homes.
The probe agency says that Sanjay Raut's close aide Pravin Raut, along with the directors of the GACPL, "misled' the MHADA to sell the floor space index to nine private developers. The accused are believed to have collected Rs 901.79 crores in the alleged scam.
The ED alleges that the construction company illegally collected funds worth Rs 1,039.79 crores by launching a project called Meadows under which it took the amount of around Rs 138 crore from flat buyers.
ED probe so far
The probe agency has claimed that a real estate company called Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) had sent Rs 100 crore to Sanjay Raut's aide Pravin Raut. He is accused of 'diverting' the money to "his close associates, family member, his business entities", including the family of Sanjay Raut.
According to the ED, Rs 83 lakhs from the 'misappropriated' funds were sent to Sanjay Raut's wife Varsha Raut who bought a flat in Dadar with that money. Additionally, at least eight plots of land were found to have been purchased in Alibaug in the name of Sanjay Raut's wife and former aide Swapna Patkar.
Patkar is a witness in the Patra Chawl scam case and had late last week filed an FIR accusing Raut of abusing and threatening her. An audio clip of an alleged conversation between the two had gone viral where the male was heard abusing and threatening the woman on the other side.
The alleged wrongdoings in the Patra Chawl redevelopment were unearthed in 2014 when the tenants stopped receiving the monthly rents which they were supposed to get from the developer till the completion of the project.
It was found that Pravin and other directors of the GACL had sold the space to private developers. In 2020, the Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra constituted a one-member committee led by a retired chief secretary of the state to recommend the rehabilitation plan for the 672 tenants of the Patra Chawl. The work resumed after the government's resolution in July 2021. The aggrieved parties are expected to receive possession of the flats as soon as the work is completed.
The opposition parties have rallied in support of Sanjay Raut and have alleged that the central agencies are being used by the ruling BJP to silence them. Congress termed ED's action against Raut as "politics of intimidation". "The only crime Sanjay Raut has committed is that he has not been cowered down by the politics of intimidation of the BJP party. He is a man of conviction and courage. We are with Sanjay Raut," Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tweeted.
Other party leaders like Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge also condemned Raut's arrest. "The BJP wants an opposition-mukt Parliament, that's why the action against Sanjay Raut," Kharge said while speaking to the media.
Updated On: 2022-08-01T17:57:03+05:30