New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut on Monday (January 4) afternoon reached the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office, Mumbai for questioning in connection with an alleged PMC Bank money laundering case. She reached the ED office at Ballard Pier in South Mumbai around 3 pm after she was summoned by the central agency. Varsha Raut was expected to visit the ED office on January 5.
Varsha Raut was summoned by the ED in connection with the alleged transfer of funds from the accounts of Pravin Raut, an accused arrested in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank fraud case.
The central probe agency has alleged that Pravin Raut had “siphoned off” Rs 95 crore worth of funds from the scam-hit bank in the garb of loan, out of which he paid Rs 1.6 crore to his wife, Madhuri, who subsequently transferred Rs 55 lakh in two tranches to Varsha Raut as an “interest-free loan.”
Pravin Raut was one of the directors in Guruashish Constructions, a subsidiary of Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL). He was arrested along with HDIL directors for illegally availing loans from PMC Bank. Earlier on Friday (January 1), the ED attached assets worth Rs 72 crore of Pravin Raut.
Recently, the ED summoned Varsha Raut for questioning with regard to this transaction and a few other deals leading to a political blame game between Maharashtra and the Centre. Varsha Raut skipped the agency’s notice thrice and join the ED probe today.
In a press conference in Mumbai last week, Sanjay Raut had denied any wrongdoing on the part of his wife and said they were in correspondence with the ED in connection with the case for about one-and-a-half months.
Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, said details regarding the Rs 55 lakh loan transaction have already been submitted to the ED during the correspondence.
The ED earlier said to have provisionally attached Rs 72 crore worth of assets of Pravin Raut under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). According to the ED statement, “Probe revealed that Rs 95 crore has been siphoned off through HDIL by one of the accused Pravin Raut in active conspiracy and connivance with various persons. “The source of the funds were illegal availed loans/advances by HDIL from PMC Bank. There was no document or agreement in support of these payments made to Pravin Raut.”
It had further said, “as per the ledger of HDIL, the funds were given to Pravin Raut for acquiring land in Palghar area,” adding the probe found that Pravin Raut “paid an amount of Rs 1.6 crore to his wife Madhuri Pravin Raut from the proceeds of crime.”
The probe found that Varsha Sanjay Raut and Madhuri Pravin Raut “are partners in Avani Construction and Varsha Raut has received Rs 12 lakh from this entity (as overdrawn capital converted to loan) on a contribution of mere Rs 5,625.” “The loan amount of Rs 12 lakh still remains outstanding,” the ED statement had said.
A criminal case of money laundering was filed by the ED to probe the alleged loan fraud in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank in October last year.
(With Agency Inputs)