Businessman Pravin Raut is remanded to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till 9 February, 2022. A case of criminal conspiracy and cheating was registered by the Mumbai Police in March 2018 after which ED registered a money laundering case in September 2021 and began their investigation. During the court of PMLA investigation, it is revealed that Raut was holding 25% shares of Guruashish Pvt Ltd till March 2010 and was actively involved in various activities relating to the project.
On Tuesday, ED had conducted a search at Raut’s Wadala residence which resulted in seizure of documents. He was placed under arrest early on Wednesday morning. The investigations so far confirms that Raut, Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan all directors of Guruashish had conspired together and hatched a conspiracy to fraudulently raise and siphon off money from this project without any intent to complete the project and thus jeopardizing the future of 672 tenants whose dwellings had already been demolished.
Shiv Sena MP, Sanjay Raut said, “Such occurrences will continue till 2024 elections, but I am not here to bow down. We all will come clean in all the investigations because all the allegations made in the media are based on sources and speculations. This is one more attack on my family, probe agencies can follow the orders of their bosses. Me and family are here to give required cooperation to the agencies during probe.”
The ED also alleged that, as per the Deed of Confirmation and Modification Agreement dated November 03, 2011, entered into between society, MHADA and Guruashish, the estimated cost of construction of the whole project was Rs 1017 crore and the rehabilitation portion required to be completed first. “As per the agreement, it was incumbent on the developers to seek permission of MHADA for each sale. This was for the purpose of keeping an account of inflows accrued by the developer by MHADA. In order to circumvent this requirement, Raut wrote a letter in May 2011 to MHADA and sought permission to sell the sales portion of the flats without specific permission of MHADA for each such sale.
However, examination of sale documents revealed that stamp duty and registration was paid on each such transaction by the developer. There was, therefore no loss to MHADA if MHADA waiver was taken on individual sale permission. Once the conditional permission of MHADA was received for sale of flats (with condition that OC shall be given only after handover of Rehab component to MHADA), M/s Guruashish sold the FSI (not flats as mentioned in the letter) to various builders and received Rs 1034 crores from the builders. They also sold certain flats directly to home buyers and pocketed that money.
Earlier, the ED attached assets worth Rs 72 crore of Pravin Raut under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the PMC Bank case. The ED alleged that Pravin Raut siphoned Rs 95 crore from loans taken by the HDIL through Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank. It found that Raut transferred around Rs 1.6 crore to his wife Madhuri Raut, who is a business partner of Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut. Of this Rs 1.6 crore, Madhuri allegedly transferred around Rs 55 crore to Varsha as an interest-free loan.
This money was then allegedly invested by Varsha in buying a flat at Dadar. The ED is probing Magpie DFS Pvt Ltd and its director Sujit Patkar, a close associate of the now arrested Pravin Raut, for the alleged fraud in the development of a plot in Goregaon in suburban Mumbai. The probe agency has searched the office and residence of Patkar as well as the premises of Pravin Raut.
The agency suspects that a part of the proceeds of the illegal sale of the floor space index (FSI) may have been invested in Magpie DFS, where Sanjay Raut’s daughters Purvashi and Vidhita are directors. But they have not given confirmation authenticating this claim.