ED gets 4-day custody of Sanjay Raut in Patra Chawl land scam case

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(Online Desk)

Shiv Sena leader and four-time Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut has been sent to four-day custody by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday.

The probe agency had reportedly asked for eight days custody which the court did not grant.

He was produced before a Special Court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, where ED cases are usually heard, around 3 pm today. At 12:30 pm, he was taken to a hospital for a medical check-up.

On Monday around 12 am, he was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as he was not cooperating in the probe, officials claimed.

An 18-hour dramatic series of events started with a raid by the ED on Raut’s home at dawn in Mumbai’s Bhandup area on Sunday, where they conducted a search, questioned Raut, and by evening, summoned him for questioning at the agency’s local office.

The team also seized Rs 11.5 lakh in cash during the search, officials said.

Later, Raut, 60, was detained by the ED. He spent the night at the ED’s zonal office in south Mumbai’s Ballard Estate.

The leader’s midnight arrest has triggered several protests by party workers across Mumbai.

The ED had sent several summons to the Sena leader which he skipped, following which he has been arrested. Earlier, a month back he had even dared the ED to arrest him.

The Shiv Sena leader earlier took to Twitter to allege that he was being victimised on the instructions of the Centre. “They (ED) are going to arrest me. I am going to be arrested”, Raut told repoters outside the ED office after he was brought there from residence. “Zukega nahi (won’t bow down)”, Raut said, putting up a brave front.

Sanjay Raut’s brother and Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Raut said that with the arrest, the BJP is trying to muzzle the voice of Shiv Sena.

“We are not scared by all this bogus actions… Raut saheb will fight, we all shall fight… the Shiv Sena will fight but will not now before the BJP, Sanjay Raut will never leave the Sena,” he said.

He said Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena stands firmly behind the Raut family.

“The Shiv Sena and Uddhav ji stand solidly behind us. Our legal fight (over Sanjay Raut’s arrest) has begun,” the Shiv Sena MLA from Vikhroli told PTI.

What is the case about?

The ED probe pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the redevelopment of Patra ‘chawl’ and related financial property transactions involving his wife and alleged associates.

In April, the ED provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 11.15 crore belonging to Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of this investigation.

The attached properties are in the form of land held by Pravin M Raut, Sanjay Raut’s aide and a former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, at Palghar, Saphale (a town in Palghar) and Padgha (in Thane district).

These 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 had said.

The ED came to know during the probe that Pravin allegedly paid Rs 55 lakh to Varsha. This was paid from the bank account of Pravin’s wife.

The money was termed as proceeds of crime by the ED.

It was also alleged that the travel expenses of Sanjay Raut were borne by Pravin which included his hotel stay and air tickets.

The ED had earlier sent Pune businessman Avinash Bhosale into custody in the DHFL-Yes Bank case, and the sources claimed that they wanted to grill Raut in this matter too.

Sources claimed that the Patra Chawl case of ED is also linked to the DHFL case.

Who is Raut?

Raut is a close aide of Shiv Sena President and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, plus the Chief Spokesperson of Shiv Sena and executive editor of the SAAMANA Group of newspapers.

Over the years, Raut became one of the most virulent critics of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) besides rallying together the various state and national Opposition parties.

He had gone under the scanner of ED since the time he played a crucial role in the formation of the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government which fell on June 29 after 31 months in power.