Patra Chawl scam: Sanjay Raut's wife Varsha appears before ED
Varsha Raut, the wife of arrested Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, on Saturday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case involving alleged irregularities in the Patra Chawl redevelopment project in Mumbai. ED had issued summons to Varsha earlier this week. She visited the central agency's office located at Ballard Estate in South Mumbai this morning.
- The ED crackdown on Raut—a Sena troubleshooter—is being seen by many as a political vendetta and conspiracy by the BJP.
- The development comes a month after Maharashtra's Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government was toppled and rebel leader Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the CM with the support of rebel Sena MLAs and the BJP.
According to reports, ED is expected to confront Varsha with her husband, who is now in ED custody, and other accused in the case. Meanwhile, police have been stationed in huge numbers outside the ED office. The central agency is probing an alleged Rs. 1,034-crore land fraud involving the redevelopment of the Patra Chawl in Mumbai's Goregaon neighborhood.
Patra Chawl is another name for Siddharth Nagar. It's located in Goregaon, North Mumbai, and there are 672 houses on an area of 47 acres. The Maharashtra Housing and Region Development Authority (MHADA) began its reconstruction project in 2008, awarding the contract to Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd (GACPL) to rehabilitate 672 families and renovate the area.
The ED claimed that Sanjay Raut's close aide Praveen Raut and other GACPL directors misled MHADA by fraudulently selling flats designated for 672 tenants. Following this, GACPL created a project named Meadows and accepted a booking amount of roughly Rs. 138 crore from flat purchasers, according to which the ED claims the business generated Rs. 1,039.79 crore from these illicit activities.
On July 1, Sanjay Raut was questioned for ten hours in this matter, and his testimony was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Varsha Raut and two of her accomplices had their assets seized by the ED in April. The ED arrested Praveen Raut in the case in February this year. He is now being held in judicial custody.