Sanjay Raut is kingpin of ‘khichdi’ scam in Maharashtra, alleges Sanjay Nirupam

Sanjay Nirupam, former Congress leader, demands the arrest of Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson Sanjay Raut

Updated - April 09, 2024 12:25 am IST

Published - April 08, 2024 01:31 pm IST

Former Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam.

Former Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam. | Photo Credit: PTI

Former Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam alleged that Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson Sanjay Raut is the “kingpin” of the ‘khichdi scam’ in Maharashtra.

“It is a matter of Maharashtra, it is a matter of Shiv Sena, so I begin with ‘Jai Maharashtra’! Today is April 8 and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has called upon the ‘khichdi chor, the Mumbai North-West Shiv Sena (UBT) Lok Sabha candidate (Amol Kirtikar) for interrogation. I do not know the ED’s next step, but it is very important to investigate this scam so that the innocent voters of North-West Mumbai will be able to know the real face of their possible candidate, at what level of robbery he and his team can do, the fraud and broker that he is,” Mr. Nirupam said at a press conference in Lokhandwala here.  

Mr. Nirupam claimed that when he began to investigate the scam, he learnt that the real ‘kingpin’ behind the ‘khichdi scam’ was someone else. “I believe no one should ever drag their family members into politics. Personally, this is a tough time for me, and I feel sorry for speaking against my friend and dragging his family members’ names today, who are probably innocent and were not aware of the entire scam that he was running, but truth must be told for public interest, and I am left with no choice. The kingpin of the ‘khichdi scam’ is Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson, Sanjay Raut. Mr. Raut is the mastermind behind this entire scam. When he was caught in the Patra Chawl scam, it was found in the investigation that he has used his wife’s name to extort money from the builder, which was so wrong. Similarly, in the ‘khichdi scam’, he used his daughter, brother and business partner’s bank accounts to collect bribe money,” Mr. Nirupam alleged.  

A company named Sahyadri Refreshment was given a contract of ₹6.37 crore to supply khichdi during the COVID-19 pandemic to the poor and underprivileged in Maharashtra. From this company, it is alleged Mr. Raut in his family’s name and his partner’s name, took ₹1 crore as a brokerage amount. “A document acquired from Vaishya Sahakari Bank Limited, a bank branch in Parel East, Mumbai, shows that from the bank account number 003110100001615, Mr. Sanjay Raut has taken cheques in the name of his daughter, Vidhita Sanjay Raut, who is completely innocent, unaware, and like my own daughter,” Mr. Nirupam said. 

“The document shows that the first payment (alleged bribe amount) of Rs. 3,50,000 came to Ms. Vidhita Raut’s account on May 29, 2020; the second payment on June 26, 2020 of ₹5,00,000; the third payment on August 7, 2020 of ₹1,25,000, and the fourth payment on August 20, 2020 of ₹3,00,000. Similarly, money was credited to Mr. Sanjay Raut’s brother, Sandeep Rajaram Raut’s account — the first payment came on August 6, 2020 of ₹5,00,000, and on August 20, 2020 a payment of ₹1,25,000 was credited to his account,” Mr. Nirupam claimed.  

“Sujit Mukund Patkar, partner of Sanjay Raut, who has been to jail in two-three cases, his account got credited on July 15, 2020 with ₹14,00,000; on August 5, 2020 with ₹14,00,000; on August 29, 2020 with ₹10,00,000; on December 17, 2020 with ₹1,90,000; and on January 12, 2021 with ₹1,90,000,” Mr. Nirupam said.  

When the probe began into Sahyadri Refreshment and its deal with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was learnt that the company was given a contract to supply 300 gm of khichdi at ₹33 per plate free of cost for stranded migrants.

“The BMC started this programme to feed the underprivileged migrants who live in slums or at construction sites in makeshift huts. The Sahyadri Refreshment gave sub-contract to someone else, and this sub-contractor started to supply only 100 gram khichdi at ₹16 per plate. Basically, they stole 200 gm khichdi from the plate of poor and underprivileged migrant labourers and this the reason I used the term ‘khichdi chor’ to address them,” Mr. Nirupam said.  

Mr. Sanjay Raut’s partners, Rajiv Salunkhe and Sujit Mukund Patkar, were arrested for being associated with Sahyadri Refreshment and their involvement in the scam. One Mr. Kadam was also arrested. “It is interesting to note that there was no one named ‘Kadam’ in this company but every time any application is issued by the company, it is on Kadam’s name. Another point to note is that if someone wants to apply for a contract to supply food, there is a provision that they must show physically whether they own their own kitchen or not. But Sahyadri Refreshment never owned a kitchen. Instead, they showed the kitchen of Persia Darbar restaurant in Jogeshwari as their own kitchen and got the contract. During the investigation, when the owner of the restaurant was summoned, he said he had never heard of Sahyadri Refreshment and had not signed any such agreement to supply khichdi. The owner also submitted an affidavit refusing any deal with the company or BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) ever,” Mr. Nirupam alleged.  

“The ED (Enforcement Directorate) has all the documents; I don’t need to submit anything. Before becoming a politician, I was a journalist. I have investigated into the matter and acquired enough evidence to prove the case,” he added. 

Taking a jibe at Uddhav Thackeray, Mr. Nirupam said that during the COVID-19 lockdown, “every evening, the former Chief Minister would wear a gloomy and sad face on Facebook Live and would say he feels for the poor”, and his government was doing the best they could for migrant workers. “They must feel ashamed of themselves as humans to run such a scam at the cost of helpless people who were struggling to survive each day,” Mr. Nirupam said.  

“The ED needs to increase the ambit of their investigation and file an FIR against Sanjay Raut and arrest him for running such a big level scam. The commission he took from Sahyadri Refreshment on their family members’ name is inhumane! Only when they are exposed, Marathis will realise the real face of their favourite Ministers, who steal the rights of people to fill their bank accounts,” he said.  

Mr. Nirupam also said that his entire election manifesto and campaign would be on the ‘khichdi scam’ and the alleged state of corruption in Maharashtra. “Navratri begins from April 9. I will announce during the nine days which party I am joining next,” Mr. Nirupam said of his next political move.

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