Mumbai: Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for about 10 hours on Friday in connection with a money-laundering probe.
Raut arrived at the ED office located in south Mumbai around 11.30 am on Friday and left around 9.30 pm. The Shiv Sena leader, while leaving the ED office, said he would cooperate with the central agency.
“It is our duty to go in front of the central agencies if they have any doubt in their minds so that people do not have any doubt in their minds about us. We were questioned for 10 hours and we gave full co-operation,” Raut told reporters outside the ED office.
Raut appeared before the central agency on Friday after it issued the second summons in the case to appear before July 1, after the leader failed to appear in his first summon on Monday due to the then political crisis in Maharashtra.
Before joining the probe yesterday, he said, “I am a fearless person. I am fearless because I have never done anything wrong in my life. If at all this is political, we will get to know that later. Right now, I feel I am going to a neutral agency and I trust them completely.”
The Rajya Sabha MP was scheduled to appear for questioning on Tuesday. However, his lawyer had sought 13-14 days time to present the documents in front of the probe agency but the request was declined by the Agency.
Raut is being probed in connection with the re-development of Mumbai’s Patra Chawl.
In April this year, the ED had attached immovable properties worth Rs 11.15 crore, including a flat at Dadar, held by Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha and eight land parcels at Kihim near Alibag, jointly held by the latter with Swapna Patkar, in connection with the redevelopment scam.
Swapna is the wife of Sujit Patkar, a close associate of the Sena leader.
The federal agency said its investigation revealed that around Rs 100 crore was transferred from the real estate company, HDIL, to the account of Pravin Raut, who in turn diverted part of these funds to various accounts of his close associates, family members, and business entities.
Praveen Raut has been a director in an infrastructure company called Guruashish constructions and is stated to be a subsidiary of the HDIL (Housing Development Infrastructure Limited), an accused in the case. Pravin Raut was arrested in the past by the Maharashtra police’s economic offences wing.
The ED’s summons to Raut, who is considered to be a confidant of Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, comes amidst mounting trouble for the party in the wake of internal rebellion.
The federal agency has also been probing the Rs 4,300 crore PMC Bank money laundering case against Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut who was questioned last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the central probe agency.
The agency is probing her role in the alleged bank loan scam with regard to the transfer of Rs 55 lakh funds by the wife of an accused in the case, Pravin Raut, apart from some other transactions.
Last year, the ED had also attached Pravin Raut’s assets worth Rs 72 crore in this case and has questioned him and his wife Madhuri Raut.
The agency had alleged that Pravin Raut had “siphoned off” funds worth Rs 95 crore from the scam-hit bank in the garb of a loan, out of which he paid Rs 1.6 crore to his wife Madhuri Raut who subsequently transferred Rs 55 lakh in two tranches to Varsha Raut, wife of Sanjay Raut, as “interest-free loan.”