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Mumbai court grants bail to Uddhav Sena’s Sanjay Raut in money laundering case

Sanjay Raut was arrested on August 1 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the redevelopment of the Patra ‘chawl’ in suburban Goregaon.

Sanjay Raut, Uddhav Thackeray, Sanjay Raut arrest, Shiv Sena, hiv Sainiks, Mumbai news, Mumbai city news, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Maharashtra government, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsShiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut (File)

A special court in Mumbai Wednesday granted bail to Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut in connection with a money-laundering case linked to a redevelopment project in the northern suburbs of Mumbai. The court also allowed the bail plea of Raut’s alleged aide, Pravin Raut.

The two were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the case. Raut was arrested on August 1 and has been lodged at Arthur Road jail.

This was Raut’s first bail plea since his arrest. He had approached the court for bail in September stating that the ED’s case against him was filed to “crush the opposition faced by the ruling party”. Raut had said in his plea that he has been a senior Shiv Sena leader for more than 18 years and the case was a “perfect example of abuse of power and political vendetta”. “The present applicant (Raut) is only a victim of political change of power and thereby abuse of criminal machinery at the hands of the ruling party,” his bail plea stated.

The ED case relates to the redevelopment of Patra Chawl in Goregaon where it has been claimed that instead of providing houses for displaced residents, directors of infrastructure company HDIL and a company named Guru Ashish Constructions cheated them. The central agency had alleged that the total amount of Rs 1039.70 crore was received in the accounts of HDIL and Guru Ashish Constructions and of which Rs 112 crore was received by co-accused, Pravin Raut.

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The ED claimed that Pravin is Raut’s “frontman” and alleged that the MP had received proceeds of crime through him. The agency had first alleged that Raut was a beneficiary of Rs 1.06 crore linked to the case, adding subsequently that a trail of Rs 2.25 crore was also later revealed in its probe.

After Sanjay Raut filed for bail, the ED filed a supplementary charge sheet in the case naming the Rajya Sabha MP. The ED alleged that Raut was involved in the redevelopment project from the stage of its conception, alleging that he had attended meetings related to it dating back to 2006. The ED charge sheet alleged that Pravin was “able to liaise with government authorities and obtain approvals” from authorities “due to his closeness with Sanjay Raut”. The ED also alleged that the proceeds of the crime were used in buying land in Kihim in Alibaug.

Raut’s lawyers had argued that in the main offence filed by the police based on which the ED case was registered, the Mumbai police in 2020 had submitted that there was no objection to the release of Pravin on bail and a closure report would be filed. The lawyers had also submitted that an explanation was provided of the money alleged to be proceeds of crime.

First published on: 09-11-2022 at 13:35 IST
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