Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sanjay Raut remanded to 4-day custody of ED

A special PMLA court in Mumbai remanded Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut to 4-day Enforcement Directorate’s custody on Monday. 

The Shiv Sena leader, who is a close aide of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, was sent to the ED custody till August 4, a day after his arrest in relation to the Patra Chawl redevelopment case.

Special judge M G Deshpande said in his order regarding Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s role said considering the compass of inquiry and volume of matter, “I strongly feel that custodial interrogation is necessary. It cannot be ignored that already a chargesheet has been filed against Pravin Raut long back. Everything is already documented and available for the prosecution to investigate. Even trail of money in the accused’s (Sanay Raut) wife’s bank account can be investigated by obtaining bank statements. Therefore, in my opinion, long ED custody for eight days is not warranted. In order to investigate crime thoroughly, prayer of ED for custody deserves to be allowed partly. Accused is remanded to ED custody till August 4.”

The judge in his statement in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court said, “these funds were siphoned off and the exact amount of Rs 112 crores. Thereafter the funds were transferred to the wife of the accused. Amount of Rs 55 lakhs. From that amount, a flat was purchased.” The FSI was sold to some builders illegally, the court said, adding the funds were raised which also amount to proceeds. On the other hand Sanjay Raut’s lawyer, Advocate Ashok Mundargi submitted that all allegations in the remand application are vague. “It is in the nature of allegations. He has claimed Fishing attempt due to political vendetta.”

During the hearing taking place in courtroom 16 of the court, Special Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegavkar, representing the ED, said, ” Pravin Raut was the frontman of Sanjay Raut. Pravin Raut received around 112 crores from HDIL…Sanjay Raut’s name surfaced here when 1.6 crore was transferred to him by Pravin Raut. Sanjay Raut purchased 10 land parcels and 8 agreements, from the income earned from Pravin Raut. A plot of land was purchased in Alibaug, there, land sellers have affirmed that more than 70% has been made in cash.”

Interjecting, Senior Advocate Ashok Mundargi, representing the Shiv Sena MP, said, “The offence is of 2018, the ECIR was registerer in 2021 and Pravin Raut was arrested in ED matter on Jan or Feb of this year. The complaints submitted to the court against Sanjay Raut are old complaints. These things are being raked up because of a change in atmosphere. All this is a fishing enquiry… Investigating agencies should not be encouraged to investigate.” 

After he skipped the earlier summons, Raut was called by the investigation agency on July 27 for questioning in the Patra Chawl land scam case, which he skipped and informed his lawyers that due to the ongoing Parliament session, he could only appear after August 7. 

On the same, ED’s counsel Venegavkar said, “Three summons were issued to Raut, he skipped two summons intentionally.” Senior advocate Mundargi, said, “He was not running anywhere, he was in Delhi, attending Parliament.”

The present case is based on an FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing  of the Mumbai Police in 2018 against Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan, promoters of the real estate company Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of HDIL that undertook the redevelopment of Patra Chawl in Goregaon and its director Pravin Raut among others.

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