Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

Court Sends Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut To ED Custody Till August 4, Party Stages Protests In Rajya Sabha And Maharashtra

Shiv Sena MPs protested Sanjay Raut's arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in Rajya Sabha. Sena members also held protests in Nashik and Aurangabad in Maharashtra. The NCP would also join the protest against Raut's arrest, as per a report.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut PTI

A special court in Mumbai sent Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut to Enforcement Directorate's (ED) custody till August 4.

The ED on Monday afternoon produced Raut in a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai amid tight security. It had arrested him on Sunday night in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the redevelopment of chawl in Mumbai. 

Earlier on Sunday, the ED had reached Raut's residence in Mumbai for the purpose of search and questioning, following which ED detained Raut and took him to its zonal office. Raut was questioned for over six hours. Officials said he was taken into custody at 12:05 am on Monday under PMLA as he was not cooperating in the investigation.

Officials added that ED also seized Rs 11.5 lakh in cash during the search at Raut's residence.

Following Raut's arrest, Sena on Monday staged protests from Parliament in Delhi to streets in Maharashtra, which forced Rajya Sabha to be adjourned.

Protests in Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha proceedings on Monday were adjourned twice after protests over Raut's and other issues. 

Even as officials papers were being laid, Shiv Sena MPs were up on their feet protesting against the arrest of Raut. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the matter has nothing to do with the House and asked them to go back to their seats. Other opposition MPs also joined in raising issues such as price rise. The Shiv Sena as well as TMC MPs then moved into the well of the House. 

"Go back to your seats. You cannot use the House to settle the scores outside," Naidu said before adjourning the proceedings till 12 noon. 

Later, proceedings were adjourned again till 2 pm.

Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also held a solitary protest at the Parliament. She was holding a placard reading "ED stands for Extended Department of BJP" in photographs shared by NDTV.

Shiv Sena holds protest in Maharashtra

Besides the Parliament, Shiv Sena also held protests in Nashik and Aurangabad in Maharashtra against Sanjay Raut's arrest. 

In Nashik, Sena workers raised slogans and activists from the party's women's wing attempted to stage a rasta roko in Shalimar Chowk area of the city. Local leaders, office-bearers and activists participated in the agitation held amid police bandobast. A similar agitation was organised in Ekatmata Chowk area of Manmad town in the district. 

"Efforts are on to suppress the voice of the Shiv Sena through central agencies such as the ED," said Vijay Karanjkar, the chief of the party's district unit.

"A conspiracy has been hatched against Raut using the ED, and the BJP is behind all this. The Sena will not back down irrespective of the calamities that come its way and the party will support Raut," said Sena's Nashik unit chief Sudhakar Badgujar.   

Protests were also held in Aurangabad against ED's arrest of Raut. Sena members were heard shouting slogans invoking Shivaji in footage shared by Times Now.

Mirror Now reported that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which was part of the now-collapsed Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, would also join protests against Raut's arrest by ED.

What's the case against Sanjay Raut?

The ED is investigating Sanjay Raut in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the redevelopment of a chawl in Mumbai. It's also probing related transactions involving Raut's wife and close associates. 

In April, the ED provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 11.15 crore belonging to Raut's wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of this investigation. 

The attached properties are in the form of land held by Pravin M Raut, Sanjay Raut's aide and a former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, at Palghar, Saphale (a town in Palghar) and Padgha (in Thane district). These assets also include a flat in Mumbai's suburb Dadar held by Varsha and eight plots at Kihim beach in Alibaug jointly held by Varsha and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar, a "close associate" of Sanjay Raut, as per ED.

The ED is understood to have questioned Raut about his "business and other links" with Pravin and Patkar and also about the property deals involving his wife. 

Uddhav Thackeray Meets Sanjay Raut's Family

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday met family members of Sanjay Raut. 

Uddhav went to Raut's residence in Mumbai's Bhandup in a car. 

Raut and Uddhav are known to share a close bond. Throughout Eknath Shinde's rebellion that led to the fall of Uddhav-led MVA government and in the days since, Raut has continued his support to Uddhav and Sena faction led by him.

(With PTI inputs)