The agency has claimed that Mr Raut and his family have benefited from money to the tune of ₹ 1.06 crore – up from the 83 lakh it earlier claimed. The ED has also accused him of threatening a key witness in the Alibaug land deal with rape and murder.
The case in which Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut has been arrested is a ₹ 1,000 crore scam in the Patra Chawl redevelopment project, the Enforcement Directorate has said.
The agency has claimed that Mr Raut and his family have benefited from money to the tune of ₹ 1.06 crore — up from the 83 lakh it earlier claimed. The ED has also accused him of threatening a key witness in the Alibaug land deal with rape and murder.
The woman, Swapna Patkar, apparently filed a complaint on July 22. She claimed that the rape and murder threat was typed on a sheet of paper, which was inserted in a newspaper delivered to her on July 15, reported news agency Press Trust of India.
Mr Raut was arrested late last night by the ED on charges of money laundering and was placed in the agency’s custody for four days by a court in Mumbai. The Sena MP has claimed that he is being framed as part of a political vendetta.
“This is nothing more than a political vendetta. Since Sunday morning, freedom was taken away,” Mr Raut told reporters. Pointing out that he is a heart patient, Mr Raut said he is not even allowed to go out.
In court today, the agency claimed that Mr Raut was summoned thrice for questioning but he appeared before it only once.
During this time, he tried tampering with key witnesses, the agency claimed. In its charges against Mr Raut, the agency said the money collected for the redevelopment project from 2010-2014 “was siphoned off by Rakesh Wadhwan and Sarang Wadhwan and thereby the project remained incomplete”.
“Out of the siphoned amount, Pravin Raut received around ₹ 112 crores in his account and proceeds of the crime amounting to about 1.06 crore were directly received by Sanjay Raut,” the ED told the court. A property was purchased in Alibaug using the tainted money.
Pravin Raut, a former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, was the “front man” of Sanjay Raut, the agency claimed. During 2010-2011, “Rs 2 lakh was transferred every month from accused Praveen Raut to Sanjay Raut,” the agency claimed. Praveen Raut has even funded Sanjay Raut’s trip abroad, the ED told the court.
In April, the ED attached assets worth over ₹ 11.15 crore belonging to Mr Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates.
The attached properties are land held by Pravin Raut at Palghar, Saphale (a town in Palghar) and Padgha (in the Thane district).
The assets also include a flat in Mumbai’s suburb Dadar held by Varsha Raut and eight plots at Kihim beach in Alibaug jointly held by Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar, a “close associate” of Sanjay Raut, the ED has said.
Sena chief and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray have solidly backed Mr Raut, calling him a “hardcore Shiv Sainik of Sena founder Bal Thackeray”.
“I am proud of Sanjay Raut. What crime has he committed? He is a journalist, a Shiv Sainik, is fearless and speaks what he does not approve of,” Mr Thackeray said.
Leaders of the Congress have also spoken in Mr Raut’s support. “The only crime SanjayRaut 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,” tweeted Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.