The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Sunday (July 31) landed at Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s residence and conducted searches in connection with his involvement in the Patra Chawl land scam case.
This move comes after Raut had cited the ongoing Parliament session for skipping the ED summons twice and had asked for time till August 7. Raut has been called for questioning by the ED in a money laundering case involving alleged irregularities in the re-development of a Mumbai ‘chawl’ and related transactions involving his wife and ‘associates’.
At 7 am on Sunday, the probe agency team, accompanied by CISF officials, reached Raut’s home in Bandup in eastern suburbs of Mumbai and began the searches.
The 60-year-old Rajya Sabha MP, who is in the Uddhav Thackeray camp, denied any wrongdoing and alleged this ED action as “political vendetta”. After the agency visited his house, the MP tweeted: “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 and I will continue to fight for Shiv Sena.”
“…False action, false evidence…I will not leave Shiv Sena…Even if I die, I will not surrender…” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the BJP slammed the Sena leader for ignoring the summons by the ED. BJP MLA Ram Kadam asked why Raut is 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,” he said. Meanwhile, a large number of Sena workers gathered outside Mr Raut’s residence, raising slogans against the ED and BJP.
The senior Shiv Sena leader was questioned by the ED on July 1 for over 10 hours, but had not attended the questioning on July 20, citing Parliament session. The ED had issued fresh summons for July 27, but he skipped that too.
The ED wants to quiz Raut over the re-development of Mumbai chawl and other transactions involving his wife Varsha Raut and close aides.
Mumbai | Enforcement Directorate officials conduct search & questioning at the residence of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, in the Patra Chawl land scam case pic.twitter.com/eE0E9mxatl
— ANI (@ANI) July 31, 2022
In a series of tweets, Raut said he will not quit the Shiv Sena and keep fighting despite the ED action against him.
In April, the enforcement agency had attached properties worth ₹11.15 crore including a flat in Dadar held by Varsha Raut and eight plots at the Kihim beach in Alibaug, belonging to Varsha and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar, a close associate of Raut.
The attached properties are in the form of land held by Pravin M Raut, Sanjay Raut’s aide and a former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, at Palghar, Saphale (town in Palghar) and Padgha (in Thane district), said the ED.
These properties also include a flat in Mumbai’s suburb Dadar held by Varsha Raut and eight plots at Kihim beach in Alibaug jointly held by Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar, a “close associate” of Sanjay Raut, the ED had said.
Incidentally, the ED’s visit comes a day after a video showing Raut purportedly abusing Swapna Patkar, a key witness in the case, did the rounds on social media. The authenticity of the video is yet to be confirmed.