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Breaking | Special PMLA Court Grants Bail To Sanjay Raut In Patra Chawl Scam Case, Rejects ED's Request For Stay On Order

Sharmeen Hakim
9 Nov 2022 7:50 AM GMT
Breaking | Special PMLA Court Grants Bail To Sanjay Raut In Patra Chawl Scam Case, Rejects EDs Request For Stay On Order

A Special PMLA court on Wednesday granted bail to Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut in the Patra Chawl redevelopment money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

Special Judge MG Deshpande also allowed the bail plea of Raut's aide, Pravin Raut.

Sanjay Raut was arrested on July 31, 2022 and is accused of committing offences under Section 3 read with Section 2(1)(u) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA). Earlier, a prosecution complainant was filed against four others.

The ED alleged that Raut through his "proxy" Pravin received Rs. 3.27 crore from Guru Ashish Constructions Pvt. Ltd (GACPL). This includes monies through banking channels as well as cash from the co-accused directors of GACPL.

However, Raut through senior advocate Ashok Mundargi and advocate Vikrant Sabne contended that there was no evidence to suggest that the Rajya Sabha MP was instrumental in giving any favours to the Patra Chawl redevelopment project at any point in time. His bail application was opposed by ASG Ani Singh.

"The role played by Sanjay Raut is very crucial in granting Patra Chawl Redevelopment Scheme M/s. Guru Ashish Constructions Pvt. Ltd. He had introduced Pravin Raut as his front in Guru Ashish at 25% share without any investment in the company. It is apparent from various statements that Pravin Raut was a front of Sanjay Raut and was acting on his behalf in the project", the chargesheets states.

The ED's case is that GACPL entered into agreement with MHADA for the redevelopment of Patra Chawl, Goregaon. It was supposed to construct flats for 672 tenants of the chawl. GACPL was entitled to a free sale component (FSI) of the land belonging to MHADA and to sell flats to third parties. However, without fulfilling the obligation to the tenants and MHADA, GACPL illegally sold the FSI to various third-party purchasers and received over 1,034 crores. This amount was transferred to HDIL and various sister concerns.

The ED complaint (chargesheet) alleges that the directors of GACPL conspired with Sanjay Raut for money laundering through the Patra Chawl Redevelopment Project. The FSI was sold to GACPL due to Pravin Raut's close-proximity with Sanjay Raut.

According to ED, Sanjay Raut was involved with the development project from conception to execution. He attended meetings chaired by the Union Agriculture Minister and the Chief Minister for the redevelopment of the Patra Chawl along with MHADA officers and others.

Sanjay Raut placed Pravin Raut in GACPL as a director for 25% share without investing in the company in order to exercise control over the project, the chargesheet states. Pravin Raut was a mere frontman of Sanjay Raut who was operating behind the veil and conducting the activities.

The ED has further alleged that Sanjay Raut received 112 crores from HDIL which he used for purchase of various assets and diverting the money to his business associates and family members. Thus, he is knowingly involved in generation and transfer of proceeds of crime.

According to ED, Sanjay Raut acquired many assets including land in Alibaug during the period the proceeds of crime were being siphoned off. He also used cash sourced from Pravin Raut to purchase assets in Kihim worth 2.04 crores for a proposed resort project.

The chargesheet states that the statement of witnesses who sold Raut the land in Alibaug have demonstrated that Sanjay Raut was the real person behind the sale deal who pressurized them into selling the land. He also paid in cash.

Pravin Raut provided huge amounts of unaccounted cash to Sanjay Raut which has been taken from the Patra Chawl Project, according to the chargesheet.

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