THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) moved against two prominent Opposition leaders on Tuesday, provisionally attaching assets worth Rs 115 crore linked to three persons in Mumbai, including the wife of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, and, in a separate move, assets worth Rs 4.81 crore of companies allegedly linked to AAP leader and Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain and his relatives.
In both cases, the central agency moved under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In Mumbai, the ED said its case is linked to alleged irregularities in the Patra chawl redevelopment project in Goregaon by Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL).
In Delhi, the central agency said the attachment of properties linked to five companies were made in connection with a case of money laundering against the Delhi Health Minister.
Reacting to the ED action against his wife Varsha Raut, Sanjay Raut said: “I’m not one to get scared. Seize my property, shoot me, or send me to jail, Sanjay Raut is Balasaheb Thackeray’s follower and a Shiv Sainik, he will fight and expose everyone. I’m not one to stay quiet, let them dance. The truth will prevail.”
The ED action in Mumbai is the latest in a series of moves by the central agency against leaders of the MVA government in Maharashtra, including Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and former state home minister Anil Deshmukh of NCP, and Transport Minister Anil Parab of Shiv Sena.
The AAP, meanwhile, said the ED move against Jain reflected the ruling BJP’s “fear of its expansion across the country”. “Given the way the (Arvind) Kejriwal model is being accepted and embraced everywhere, we had expected that the BJP will use agencies against the Opposition as usual. They registered more than 100 cases against our MLAs and ministers, and each one has been dismissed in court. Satyendar Jain is a staunchly honest man and this case will also be completely dismissed,” the party said.
In a statement on the Mumbai case, the ED said: “The attached assets are in form of lands held by Pravin M Raut, former director of Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd, Mumbai at Palghar, a flat at Dadar of Varsha Raut and plots at Kihim beach at Alibaug jointly held by Varsha Raut, wife of Shri Sanjay Raut, and Swapna Patkar, wife of Shri Sujit Patkar.”
The ED had arrested Pravin Raut, a businessman, on February 4 for having allegedly “diverted” Rs 100 crore received from HDIL to various accounts of “his close associates, family members, his business entities”, including the family of Sanjay Raut.
The ED has claimed that its probe into alleged irregularities in the redevelopment of Patra chawl found an agreement signed between Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and Guru Ashish Construction. According to ED, Guru Ashish Construction was to provide flats to 672 tenants of the chawl, develop flats for MHADA and sell the remaining area to private builders.
However, the ED said, the directors of Guru Ashish Construction, including Pravin Raut, allegedly misled MHADA and sold space to nine developers, collecting Rs 901.79 crore, without constructing the portion for the tenants and the MHADA.
“Further, Guru Ashish Construction Pvt Ltd has also launched one project namely Meadows and took the booking amount of around Rs 138 crore from flat buyers. The total proceeds of the crime generated by directors of Guru Ashish Constructions Pvt Ltd through the illegal activities was approximately Rs 1,039.79 crore,” said the ED statement.
The ED has alleged that in 2010, a part of the “proceeds of crime” of Rs 83 lakh was transferred to Varsha Raut from Madhuri Raut, the wife of Pravin Raut. “This amount was utilised by Varsha Raut for purchase of flat at Dadar. It is also revealed that after initiation of ED investigation, the amount of Rs 55 Lakh was transferred by Varsha Raut to Madhuri Raut,” said the statement.
According to ED, at least eight plots at Kihim beach in Alibaug were allegedly purchased in the name of Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, the wife of Sujit Patkar, who was a close associate of Sanjay Raut at the time. These properties, too, have been provisionally attached, the ED said.
The ED action against Jain in Delhi is based on an FIR filed by the CBI in 2017 against the AAP Minister under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Apart from properties linked to the five companies — Akinchan Developers Pvt Ltd, Indo Metal Impex Pvt Ltd, Paryas Infosolutions Pvt Ltd, Mangalayatan Projects Pvt Ltd and J J Ideal Estate Pvt Ltd — the ED has provisionally attached properties belonging to four persons, Swati Jain, Sushila Jain, Ajit Prasad Jain and Indu Jain.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ED said: “Investigation by ED revealed that during the period 2015-16, when Sh. Satyendar Kumar Jain was a public servant, the above-mentioned companies beneficially owned and controlled by him received accommodation entries to the tune of Rs.4.81 crore from shell companies against cash transferred to Kolkata-based entry operators through Hawala route. These amounts were utilised for direct purchase of land or for the repayment of loan taken for purchase of agricultural land in and around Delhi.”
The agency had recently summoned Jain again in the case after questioning him in 2018.
The CBI had alleged in its complaint that Jain was unable to explain the source of funds received by the companies in which he was a shareholder. Subsequently, it registered a case against him, his wife and four others on charges of corruption. The CBI has also questioned Jain in the case earlier.