ED summons Sanjay Raut's wife again in money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate issued fresh summons against Varsha Raut, wife of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, for a second round of questioning on January 11 in connection with the Rs. 4,300 crore PMC Bank money laundering case. Varsha's statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the central probe agency for the first time on January 4 at its office.
Varsha's alleged involvement and the charges
The agency is probing her role in the alleged bank loan scam with regard to the transfer of funds by the wife of an accused in the case, Pravin Raut, apart from some other transactions. The agency had alleged that Madhuri Raut, wife of Pravin, transferred Rs. 55 lakh in two transactions to Varsha as 'interest-free loan.'
Pravin and the criminal charges against him
Pravin was the director of Guruashish Construction Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL). Pravin was arrested in the past by the state police Economic Offences Wing. The ED had recently attached his assets worth Rs. 72 crore to this case. The agency had alleged that he "siphoned off" Rs. 95 crore from the bank in the garb of loan.
Other accusations against Varsha and Pravin
The laundered money was also utilized by Pravin for the purchase of a flat in Dadar East, Mumbai. The probe found that Varsha and Pravin are partners in Avani Construction and Varsha has received Rs. 12 lakh from this entity (as overdrawn capital converted to loan) on a contribution of mere Rs. 5,625. The loan amount of Rs. 12 lakh still remains outstanding.
Sanjay denied any wrongdoing on the part of his wife
Sanjay, 59, is a Rajya Sabha MP and a Shiv Sena spokesperson. He denied any wrongdoing on the part of his wife. They are in correspondence with the ED for the past one-and-a-half month. ED is also probing the role of a former Shiv Sena legislator with regard to a Rs. 1 crore transaction between PMC Bank and an association linked to him.
What is the PMC Bank scam?
HDIL, its promoters Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, Sarang Wadhawan, former chairman Waryam Singh and ex-managing director Joy Thomas were alleged of loan fraud in Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank in October last year by ED. Mumbai Police Economic Offences Wing's FIR charged them for causing wrongful loss, prima facie to the tune of Rs. 4,355 crore to the PMC Bank, and corresponding gains to themselves.