Sanjay Raut sent to 3-day custody by special court
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in an alleged money laundering case on July 31 at midnight, after a nine-hour-long marathon raid at his home conducted in connection with the Patra Chawl land scam case. He has been sent to the ED’s custody by the special court till August 4.
The ED officials said that unaccounted cash worth ₹11.5 lakh was seized from Raut’s residence and he will be produced at a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday.
Before appearing in court, Raut spoke to the media and he described his arrest as a “conspiracy to finish the Shiv Sena”. Raut’s lawyer Ashok Mundaragi also defended him and called his arrest politically motivated.
According to the ED officials, Raut was arrested due to “non-cooperation”, “unaccounted cash recovered at his residence”, and recovery of “incriminating documents” from his place. The Shiv Sena leader’s arrest is linked to the Patra Chawl scam case.
Praveen Raut, former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, is the main accused in the ₹1039.79 crores Patra Chawl scam case and ED believes that Raut is also involved in this scam.
The probe by the ED said that Praveen Raut paid ₹2 lakhs per month to Sanjay Raut. Praveen Raut also handled Sanjay Raut’s and his family’s domestic and foreign tours, according to the investigation.
Praveen Raut paid Rs 55 lakh from proceeds of crime to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha through his wife’s account, according to the ED.
The ED had sought custody of Raut for eight days from the special court but the court allowed only three days of custody. Special Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar representing the ED, said “Raut had not answered two summons and had not co-operated with the investigations”.
Sanjay Raut and his wife Varsha Raut have directly benefited from this scam, Venegaonkar told the court.
Defending the charges against Raut, his brother Sunil Raut said “we have full faith in the judiciary and Sanjay Raut will soon be proven innocent of all these charges.” Sunil Raut accused the BJP and said, “BJP is doing this for political reasons and Sanjay Raut has been arrested for speaking against BJP and supporting Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray.”.
Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aditya Thackeray called this arrest of Raut a “political conspiracy.” He also accused BJP and said, “the BJP wants to eliminate Shiv Sena and wants to suppress Maharashtra’s voice, due to which it is adopting such tactics”.
Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis on Monday defended the ED’s action against Raut and said “The ED is a national probe agency. It must have taken action against Raut based on documents and proofs. I would not comment on this issue further. His arrest and other related issues will be discussed in court.”
This money laundering case against Sanjay Raut and his wife Varsha Raut started in 2018, and both of them have faced many allegations.