ED chargesheet: Raut was at meetings chaired by ex-union minister, ex-CM | India News

MUMBAI: Special PMLA court judge M G Deshpande on Monday took cognizance of a chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a Rs-1,034-crore money laundering case against Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. Linked to alleged irregularities in the Patra Chawl redevelopment project in Goregaon West, the chargesheet said “new evidence” points to his “major role” in “siphoning off” money.
According to it, in 2006-07 Raut attended meetings, one with officers of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) “chaired by the then Union agriculture minister”, and another meeting “chaired by a former chief minister.” Thereafter, developer Rakesh Wadhawan through Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd (GACPL) was brought into the picture to execute the Patra Chawl redevelopment project, said the ED’s supplementary chargesheet. The agriculture minister in 2006-07 was from Maharashtra but the chargesheet mentions no name. ED had filed the supplementary chargesheet against Sanjay Raut and others last week.
The ED case is that to “exercise control” Raut inducted his “aide and confidante” Pravin Raut as director of GACPL who then sold massive free sale component of FSI in the project to other builders for Rs 1,034 crore, which amounts to ‘proceeds of crime (POC)’ from which Raut and family utilised funds for “domestic and foreign” trips and also acquired assets.
The ED said it found Rs 11.5 lakh in cash when they raided Raut’s Bhandup residence on July 31. Raut’s statement to ED explained it as “unspent amount kept at his house” from collections made when he “along with thousands of Shiv Sena workers went to Ayodhya”. He said “funds were voluntarily contributed by party workers for expenses in Ayodhya.” The chargesheet said he denied any association with Patra Chawl.
The proceeds of crime from the Patra Chawl deals was not utilised for the redevelopment, says the chargesheet. ED says “new evidence’’ shows Raut “may have also played a major role with others due to which POC was siphoned off” instead of being used to compensate tenants and other buyers in the redevelopment project who had put in their hard earned money.”
The chargesheet said, “Sanjay Raut has also threatened various witnesses from whom he had purchased land in Alibaug, coaxing them to sell land.” The ED said when Sanjay Raut was shown a document indicating cash totalling Rs 117 lakh was allegedly paid by his wife Varsha to five buyers for purchase of land in Alibaug, he said “he had no idea about this document.’’
Sanjay Raut told ED that he and his family, with Pravin Raut and others including Swapna Patkar and her family travelled to Goa and Rajasthan around 10 years back. They also visited “Hongkong and China” and “these trips were co-ordinated by Swapna Patkar.” The ED has listed 15 witnesses including Swapna Patkar who, the ED says, “will prove Pravin Raut is a footman of Sanjay Raut.”
ED has collected documents pertaining to the Patra Chawl project from Mhada. One such document, says the chargesheet, is a letter dated 14.08.2006 from the secretary, housing department wherein it was observed that on 12.08.2006 the then union agriculture minister had desired a discussion regarding “a redevelopment scheme for Siddharth Nagar, EWS Row Houses/Tenements at Goregaon in the YB. Chavan Centre.” Present at the meeting were Sanjay Raut and the housing secretary, said ED.

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