The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed a chargesheet against Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in a 2018 chawl redevelopment case related to irregularities.
Mr. Raut is a close aide of former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and is currently lodged at the Arthur Road Jail. He filed for bail on September 7 contending allegations against him is a perfect example of “abuse of power” and “political vendetta”.
The central agency filed its written reply in the bail application before special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Judge M.G. Deshpande. The ED opposed the plea said, “The present applicant is very influential and powerful person. If released on bail, he may influence and tamper the evidence. There are instances of him threatening witnesses.”
After being questioned for nine hours on June 28, Mr. Raut was arrested on August 1 by ED on allegations of money laundering and irregularities about the redevelopment of the Patra chawl in Mumbai’s Goregaon. It is alleged by ED that the developers, one of them a close associate of Mr. Raut fraudulently made ₹1,039.79 crore from this scheme and Mr. Raut also benefited from the same. On August 8, Mr. Raut was sent to judicial custody. ED has previously attached assets belonging to Mr. Raut and also questioned his wife Varsha in this case.
On August 4, a special PMLA had recorded in its order, “It is a fact that the money trail of ₹1.17 crore and ₹1.08 crore did not come before the court. ED has revealed some more amount along with bank statements, I believe that there is legitimate progress in the investigation and certain facts need to be probed by summoning witnesses and confronting the accused.”
The case dates back to March 2018 when a First Information Report (FIR) was registered under the provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against M/s Guru Ashish Construction, Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited’s (HDIL) promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhwan on basis of a complaint filed by an executive engineer of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development (MHADA). According to the ED, M/s. Guru Ashish Construction was entrusted with developing the Patra chawl project to rehabilitate 672 tenants in 47 acres of land. During the relevant time, the Wadhawan brothers and Pravin Raut were the directors of M/s. Guru Ashish Construction.
As per the agreement, the developer was to provide flats to the tenants and develop flats for MHADA. Thereafter the remaining area was to be sold by the developer. ED contends the directors of M/s. Guru Ashish Constructions misled MHADA and managed to sell the floor space index to nine developers and collected approximately ₹901.79 crore without constructing the rehab portion for 672 displaced tenants and MHADA portion.