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Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut Sent to ED Custody Till August 4 in Money Laundering Case

The ED arrested Raut on Sunday midnight in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the redevelopment of a Mumbai 'chawl'.

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New Delhi: A special court in Mumbai on Monday, August 1, remanded Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till August 4 in a money laundering case.

The ED produced Raut before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court judge M.G. Deshpande and sought his remand for eight days.

The ED had arrested Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday midnight in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the redevelopment of a Mumbai ‘chawl’, officials said.

Raut, 60, was arrested after over six hours of questioning at the ED’s zonal office in south Mumbai’s Ballard Estate. He was taken into custody at 12:05 am on Monday under the PMLA as he was not cooperating in the probe, officials told PTI.

Seeking Raut’s custody, the ED officials before the court said, “From the PMLA investigation conducted, it has been ascertained that Shri Sanjay Raut, Pravin Raut, Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan conspired together and hatched a conspiracy to siphon monies from this project without completing the project and jeopardizing the future of 672 tenants whose dwellings had already been demolished.”

Pravin Raut, Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan are part of Guru Ashish Constructions which was involved in the redevelopment project of the chawl concerned.

“Investigation also revealed that Shri Pravin Raut is a close confidante and associate of Shri Sanjay Raut. Being the frontman of Sanjay Raut, he utilised his proximity with Sanjay Raut for obtaining the approval from MHADA and other advantages best known to themselves,” the ED said before the court.

MHADA refers to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority. As a statutory housing authority and a nodal agency of Maharashtra state, its mandate is to provide affordable housing in the state.

The ED on Sunday, July 31, also conducted a search at Raut’s residence in Mumbai in connection with a money laundering case. The team seized Rs 11.5 lakh in cash during the search, officials told PTI.

Raut was summoned twice by the ED on the case of alleged money laundering, the latest being on July 27.

The Rajya Sabha MP had skipped the summons, denied any wrongdoing, and termed it as a “political vendetta” unleashed on him by the Narendra Modi government for being in the Uddhav Thackeray camp, which had resisted the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) move to form a government in Maharashtra.

Soon after the ED team arrived at his residence to conduct the searches and interrogate him, he took to Twitter saying, “…False action, false evidence…I will not leave Shiv Sena…Even if I die, I will not surrender…I have nothing to do with any scam. I am saying this by taking the oath of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray. Balasaheb taught us to fight. I will continue to fight for Shiv Sena.”

Also read: ED Issues Fresh Summons to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut

On July 1, he was questioned by the ED officials at its Mumbai office for about 10 hours during which his statement on the matter was recorded under the PMLA. “I gave full cooperation and answered all their questions. I will appear again if they call me,” Raut had told reporters, after coming out of the ED office.

In April, the ED had provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 11.15 crore of Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of the investigation involving the redevelopment of the Patra ‘chawl’ slum areas.

“These properties 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,” an Indian Express report said.

Note: This article was originally published on July 31 and republished on August 1 after being updated with news on Raut’s arrest. It was updated again at 10:25 pm on August 1 with ED submissions before the court to seek Raut’s custody.