With the investigations of high-profile Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut by the Enforcement Directorate, the Rs 1,034-crore Patra Chawl land scam case has once again come to the fore.
Raut, a journalist-politician, who is a close aide of Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, is being haunted by the land scam case, for over a couple of years after the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra came to power.
The case is being investigated by ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
The Patra Chawl land scam case is linked to Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan, the father-son duo promoters of crisis-hit real estate firm Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), which was responsible for the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC) scam.
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In 2007, Guruashish Construction Pvt Ltd was awarded a contract for the redevelopment of Patra Chawl by the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA).
Incidentally, the Directors in the Guruashish Construction are Pravin Raut, Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan.
Pravin Raut, who was arrested by ED on February 2, 2022, is a close aide and friend of Sanjay Raut.
Guruashish Constructions was to develop flats for 672 tenants of Patra Chawl and about 3,000 flats had to be handed over to MHADA. The total land parcel was of 47 acres and the remaining land after handing over flats to MHADA and Patra Chawl tenants was to be allowed for sale and development by Guruashish Constructions.
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According to the ED, Guruashish Constructions, in connivance with others, illegally sold FSI to various builders for Rs 1,034 crore. This was done without constructing the rehab flats and flats to be handed over to MHADA, which was the pre-requisite.
“Investigations revealed that Pravin Raut has played an active role in redevelopment projects and in connivance with the Wadhawans, managed to divert the proceeds of crime more than 1000 crore by harming the interest of 672 tenants and buyers. In addition to Rs 1034 crore received from various builders, they had also obtained bank loans,” according to the ED.
It is also revealed that during 2010 Pravin Raut has received Rs 95 crore in his bank account in the guise of the sale of equity and land deal though the company was not able to complete the project and had not generated any income.
Further, in another case (PMC bank loan fraud case), the properties of Pravin Raut amounting to Rs 72.65 crore was identified and attached.
On 5 April 2022, more properties of Pravin Rait, a flat at Dadar of Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut and plots at Kihim beach at Alibaug jointly held by Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar.
ED probe has revealed that various amounts were diverted by Pravin Raut to various accounts of his close associates, family members, and his business entities.
“It is also revealed that during 2010 part of the proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 83 lakhs was received by Varsha Raut directly/indirectly from Madhuri Raut, wife of Pravin Raut. This amount was utilized by Varsha Raut for the purchase of a flat at Dadar. It is also revealed that after the initiation of ED investigation the amount of Rs 55 lakhs was transferred by Varsha Raut to Madhuri Raut,” according to the ED investigations.
Eight plots of land at Kihim beach at Alibaug was also purchased in the name of Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar, a close associate of Sanjay Raut.