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Central Agency Raids Sena’s Sanjay Raut after his “No-Show” for questioning

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Sunday conducted search and questioning at Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s house in Mumbai after he skipped summons twice for questioning in a money-laundering case. The Shiv Sena leader was summoned by the probe agency on July 27 after he skipped an earlier summon citing the ongoing Parliament session in Delhi.

At 7 am, the probe agency team, accompanied by CISF officials, reached Mr Raut’s home in Bandup in eastern suburbs of Mumbai and began the searches.

The Enforcement Directorate wants to question Mr Raut, 60, in connection with the re-development of a chawl in Mumbai and related transactions involving his wife and close associates. Mr Raut, who is in the Uddhav Thackeray camp, has denied any wrongdoing and alleged that he is being targeted due to political vendetta.

“…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,” Mr Raut tweeted shortly after probe agency officials’ visit to his home.

The BJP hit back at the Sena leader for skipping the summons. “Why is he scared of Enforcement Directorate if he is innocent? He has all the time to give press conference but no time to visit probe agency office for questioning,” said BJP MLA Ram Kadam.

The Rajya Sabha MP was questioned for about 10 hours on July 1, during which his statement was recorded under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

In April, the Enforcement Directorate attached assets worth over Rs. 11.15 crore of Mr Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of its probe.

The properties include a flat in Dadar held by Varsha Raut and eight plots at the Kihim beach in Alibaug jointly held by Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, the wife of Sujit Patkar, a “close associate” of Sanjay Raut.

The agency wants to question Sanjay Raut to know about his “business and other links” with his close associates Pravin Raut and Sujit Patkar and also about the property deals involving his wife.

Pravin Raut was arrested in a probe linked to a ? 1,034-crore alleged land scam related to the re-development of the Patra chawl in Goregaon area. He is currently in judicial custody.

Guru Ashish Construction Private Limited was involved in the re-development of the “chawl”, which had 672 tenants living in tenements on 47 acres belonging to the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA), the ED had said earlier.