Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut was detained by the Enforcement Directorate after he skipped summons twice to appear for questioning in an alleged land scam case. The probe agency officials searched his home for most part of the day before he was detained.
At 7 am, the probe agency team, accompanied by Central Industrial Security Force officials, reached Mr Raut’s home in Bandup in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai and began searching the property.
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 former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena camp, has denied any wrongdoing and alleged he is being targeted due to political vendetta.
“While he was being taken away, Mr Raut told reporters, “Fake evidence has been planted against me. This is a conspiracy against me and the Shiv Sena. I won’t bow down.”
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.
A large number of Sena workers gathered outside Mr Raut’s home, raising slogans against the Enforcement Directorate and the BJP.
The Rajya Sabha MP was questioned for 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 ₹ 11.15 crore of Mr Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates. The properties include a flat in Dadar held by Varsha Raut and eight plots at 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 Mr 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 Patra chawl in Goregaon.
He is currently in judicial custody. Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd was involved in 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 Enforcement Directorate has said.