Sanjay Raut played major role in Patra Chawl transactions, ED claims, opposes bail
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut played a major role in the money laundering case related to Patra Chawl redevelopment and acted ''behind curtains'', the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told a court here on Friday while opposing his bail application.
The Rajya Sabha member was arrested in the case in July and is currently in judicial custody. He has moved the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases for bail.
The ED, in its reply, denied Raut's contention that the action against him arose from malice or political vendetta. “Accused played a major role in the offence through his proxy and confidant Pravin Raut (a co-accused)....to avoid the money trail (Sanjay Raut) has been operating behind curtains,” the probe agency said.
The ED probe pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the redevelopment of Patra Chawl, a tenement, and related financial transactions involving his wife and associates.
Siddharth Nagar, popularly known as Patra Chawl, in suburban Goregaon is spread over 47 acres and housed 672 tenant families.
In 2008, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), a government agency, assigned redevelopment contract for the Chawl to Guru Ashish Construction Private Limited (GACPL), a sister company of HDIL (Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd).
GACPL was supposed to build 672 flats for the tenants and also give some flats to MHADA. It was free to sell remaining land to private developers.
But the tenants did not get a single flat in the last 14 years, as the company did not redevelop Patra Chawl, but sold land parcels and Floor Space Index (FSI) to other builders for Rs 1,034 crore, as per the ED.
It launched its own project called The Meadows and took a booking amount of Rs 138 crore from flat buyers, it claimed.
Sarang and Rakesh Wadhawan of HDIL, prime accused in the PMC bank scam, too were directors of the company. The ED denied Sanjay Raut's claim that MHADA, by its letter dated July 28, 2007, had permitted Guru Ashish to sell the free sale component to raise funds for completing the project. MHADA had categorically stated that the developer can take a loan on the land earmarked for free sale, but the developer chose to sell FSI without permission, the central agency said.
''Thus sale proceeds of FSI are nothing but proceeds of crime,'' the ED said.
Sanjay Raut is a “very influential and powerful person” and if released on bail, he may tamper with evidence and there are already instances of his threatening witnesses, the ED claimed. Special judge M G Deshpande will hear arguments on September 19.
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