Mumbai: Troubles for Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut mounted Sunday when Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials landed at his Mumbai residence at around 7 am. After grilling him for nearly nine hours in connection with the Patra Chawl redevelopment case, the central agency detained him.
As news of ED officials reaching Raut’s residence spread, many Shivsainiks gathered outside. The MP, along with the ED officials, then emerged wearing a saffron shawl embossed with the party symbol of a bow and arrow, waving at the Shivsainiks.
Even while the ED officials were at his residence, a defiant Raut tweeted that he would continue to fight for the Shiv Sena and won’t leave the party. Claiming that the case is fabricated and the evidence is false, he swore by party founder Bal Thackeray that he had not committed any fraud.
कोणत्याही घोटाळ्याशी माझा काडीमात्र संबंध नाही.
शिवसेना प्रमुख बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांची शपथ घेऊन मी हे सांगत आहे..बाळासाहेबांनी आम्हाला लढायला शिकवलंय..
मी शिवसेनेसाठी लढत राहीन.
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) July 31, 2022
मी शिवसेना सोडणार नाही..
मरेन पण शरण जाणार नाही
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) July 31, 2022
Sunil Raut, MLA and brother of Sanjay Raut, told mediapersons: “ED did not find any evidence related to the Patra Chawl case. They summoned Sanjay Raut and hence he is going along with ED to their office and we are going there too.”
So what is the case all about? And how is Raut, according to the ED, involved in it?
The Patra Chawl redevelopment project
In 2008, Guru Ashish Construction Pvt. Ltd. (GACPL), a sister concern of real estate firm Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), was awarded the contract for the redevelopment of Patra Chawl — a slum in Mumbai’s Goregaon area — by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).
Siddharth Nagar, popularly known as Patra Chawl, is owned by MHADA, and is spread across a 47-acre plot that had 672 tenants living in tenements.
A tripartite agreement was signed between GACPL, the tenants’ society of Patra Chawl and MHADA for redevelopment. GACPL was to develop flats for the 672 tenants, while the remaining land was to be developed and sold by the firm.
The tenants, however, are yet to get their flats.
Pravin Raut, is a director at GACPL, as are HDIL promoter Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang, who are accused in the multi-crore Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank fraud case. Pravin, who is considered a close associate of Sanjay Raut, was arrested by the ED in connection with the Patra Chawl case in February, and is currently in judicial custody.
According to the tripartite agreement, the developer, in this case the GACPL, had to pay rent to all 672 tenants every month till completion of the flats since this was a redevelopment project. However, the rent was paid only till 2014-15, even though the project was still not complete. The tenants then started complaining about non-payment of rent, and the delay in completion of the project.
The ED claims that Pravin Raut and other GACPL directors misled MHADA, and sold the floor space index (FSI) to nine private developers. In this process, they collected Rs 901.79 crore, without constructing either the redevelopment portion for the 672 displaced tenants, or the portion for MHADA.
Meanwhile, the GACPL also launched another project called ‘Meadows’, and took a booking amount worth Rs 138 crore from buyers. The ED has claimed that the total proceeds through these “illegal activities” were to the tune of Rs 1039.79 crore, and part of this was diverted to close associates and family.
The ‘Sanjay Raut’ connection
The ED has claimed that Pravin Raut’s wife Madhuri gave Rs 83 lakh, a part of the alleged criminal proceeds, to Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha, who later used the sum to buy a flat in Dadar. Moreover, around eight plots of land were purchased at Alibaug’s Kihim beach in the name of Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, the ED has alleged. Swapna Patkar is the wife of Sujit Patkar, who is another associate of Sanjay Raut, the agency has claimed.
The ED has also alleged that after the investigations began, Varsha Raut transferred Rs 55 lakh to Pravin Raut’s wife Madhuri.
The Alibaug land deal is also being probed by the ED as it suspects that laundered money was used for the purchase. In April, the ED had attached properties worth Rs 11.15 crore of Varsha Raut as well as Sanjay Raut’s associates.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)