Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here to record his statement in connection with a money laundering probe. Raut reached the ED office located at the Ballard Estate in south Mumbai around 11.30 am. Heavy police force was deployed outside the central agency's office as large number of Shiv Sena workers were present at the spot. Barricades were placed on the roads leading to the office.
After his arrival, the Sena MP, seen sporting a saffron muffler around his neck, waved at his supporters before entering the office along with his lawyer. Speaking to reporters before going inside, Raut said, "I will co-operate with the agency in the investigation. It had summoned me, they require some information from me and it is my duty as a member of Parliament, responsible citizen and leader of a political party to co-operate with them." He said he was "fearless and undaunted" as he has "not done anything wrong in life".
When asked whether it is a politically motivated case, Raut said, "We will come to know it later. I think I am appearing before the agency, which is neutral, and I have full confidence in them." Earlier in the day, the Sena leader posted a tweet saying, "I will be appearing bfore the ED today at 12 noon. I respect the Summons issued to me and it's my duty to co-operate with the Investigation agencies.I appeal Shivsena workers not to gather at the ED office. Don't worry !"
The ED had summoned the Rajya Sabha member for questioning in the money laundering probe linked to the re-development of a Mumbai 'chawl' and other related financial transactions involving his wife and friends. The agency had earlier summoned him on June 28. However, Raut had termed the ED's summons as a "conspiracy" to stop him from fighting against the Shiv Sena's political opponents in the wake of a rebellion by party MLAs, and said he will not be able to appear before the agency on Tuesday as he had to attend a meeting in Alibag (Raigad district). Accordingly, the ED had issued fresh summons and asked him to appear before it on Friday.
(With PTI Inputs)