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Money laundering case: ED files supplementary chargesheet against Raut, opposes his bail

On Friday, the ED also opposed bail to Raut stating that he had played a major role in the offence through his “proxy and confidant” co-accused Pravin Raut and had been “operating behind the curtain” to avoid the trail.

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OVER A month-and-a-half since his arrest, the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday filed a supplementary chargesheet against Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in a money laundering case linked to a redevelopment project in suburban Mumbai.

On Friday, the ED also opposed bail to Raut stating that he had played a major role in the offence through his “proxy and confidant” co-accused Pravin Raut and had been “operating behind the curtain” to avoid the trail.

Raut was arrested on August 1 by the ED and has been behind bars since. Last week, Raut filed his first bail application in the case. On Thursday, the ED filed its supplementary prosecution complaint (chargesheet) in the case against Raut and others.

The ED claims that Raut utilised proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 3.27 crore received from Pravin from the sale of the Floor Space Index (FRI) of the land where the project was to be developed in Patra Chawl in Goregaon. The ED has claimed that the amount was utilised in “creating assets apart from spending the proceeds of crime in pleasure trips and other expenses”.

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Among the transactions flagged by the ED is the amount of Rs 37.50 lakh received by Raut and his wife, Varsha, from Prathamesh Developer, a business entity of Pravin. Raut, in his bail application, had said that the money was received from Prathamesh Developer as return of investment. Raut has said that he had invested in a project by the company with a promise of a specific profit. He said that he decided to withdraw the investment and was given limited profit. The ED has claimed that while Raut had invested Rs 29.50 lakh, he received Rs 37.50 lakh in return within a month of the investment.

“The subject money was also utilised for the purchase of a flat. The manner of receipt of money clearly indicated that the claim of the applicant is false. Nowhere does such huge money get returned on cancellation of booking of land. In fact as per practice, normally the land seller cuts a certain percentage of the booking money and returns the amount whereas in the present case, the land owner gave Rs 37.50 lakh over and above the invested amount of Rs 29.50 lakh,” the ED has said.

The ED case relates to a cheating case filed in connection with the redevelopment of Patra Chawl. While 672 tenants were to be rehabilitated through the project, they were, instead, allegedly cheated by directors of infrastructure company HDIL and a company named Guru Ashish Constructions of which Pravin was the director.

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While the proceeds of crime from this sale is alleged to be Rs 1,039.79 crore, part of this was received in the bank account of HDIL and Pravin received Rs 112 crore, the agency said. The ED has alleged that the transfer of money from Pravin to Raut was from the proceeds of crime. It said that as developers, the accused did not have the right to sell the Floor Space Index (FSI) of the land but it was done and never utilised for completion of the project. The ED has previously filed a chargesheet against Pravin and others.

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The ED also opposed the bail of Raut stating that the probe is at a crucial stage and evidences are surfacing which indicate his major role in the conception and execution of the offence of money laundering.

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“Considering the enormity of the case and the influence and power wielded by the accused, his release at this crucial stage will hamper the ongoing investigation,” the ED has said, adding that he is an influential and powerful person.

Raut, in his bail plea, had said that the case was filed against him to “crush the Opposition faced by the ruling party”. The ED denied that it was a case of vendetta. The court has scheduled a hearing on the bail plea on Monday.

First published on: 17-09-2022 at 12:01:18 am
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