The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday questioned Varsha Raut, wife of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, in connection with a Rs 55 lakh interest free loan taken by her from Madhuri Raut, wife of Pravin Raut, an accused in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank fraud case.
Varsha, who was summoned by the ED three times in connection with the case, had sought time from the agency till January 5. However she appeared before the agency on Monday afternoon.
Sanjay Raut had earlier clarified that Pravin Raut and his wife Madhuri are close family friends but not relations.
The ED has alleged that Pravin Raut, a director of Guruashish Constructions Pvt Ltd — a subsidiary of Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) — siphoned Rs 95 crore and allegedly transferred Rs 1.6 crore to his wife, who then gave Rs 55 lakh to Varsha Raut as an interest free loan in 2010-11.
The ED has claimed that there is no document in support of these payments made to Pravin Raut. The ED has alleged that the money given by HDIL to Pravin Raut is recorded as funds for acquiring land in the Palghar area in Mumbai in its books.
According to the ED, the money siphoned by Pravin were loans availed by HDIL from PMC Bank. HDIL and its promoters are accused of a Rs 6,200-crore fraud at the bank. Last week the agency provisionally attached assets worth Rs 72 crore of Pravin Raut under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED has alleged that Varsha used the money to buy a flat at Dadar in Mumbai. The agency has found that Varsha and Madhuri are also partners in a firm called Avani Construction. Varsha, sources said, has also received a loan of Rs 12 lakh from this company against a contribution of mere Rs 5,625 towards its capital.
PMC Bank is under regulatory restrictions after the Reserve Bank of India found out financial irregularities in its functioning, hiding and classification of loans given to HDIL. The promoters of HDIL — Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan — are currently in jail in the PMC Bank scam case.
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