Maharashtra crisis: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut will skip the ED's summons today for questioning in a money laundering probe linked to the re-development of a Mumbai 'chawl' and other related financial transactions involving his wife and friends.
Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, had on Monday said that he will not appear before the agency on Tuesday as he has some party-related works and that he wants to stay with the party in the time of crisis. According to Raut, 60, he has a public meeting in Alibaug today.
"I knew ED is going to summon me, I won't kneel down. No matter what the rebel MLAs do, I will not go to Guwahati. I am Balasaheb's Shiv Sainik and I will stay with my party. I will not appear before the ED tomorrow (Tuesday). I will seek time from ED, but will definitely go after some time," Raut had told reporters in Mumbai yesterday. “This is a conspiracy to stop me. Even if you behead me, I won't take the Guwahati route,” he added.
The Shiv Sena is staring at a split after senior leader Eknath Shinde raised the banner of revolt and moved to a hotel in Assam's Guwahati with around 40 MLAs. The revolt has also pushed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to the brink of collapse. The MVA is an alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
Raut was on Monday asked by the ED to appear its office in south Mumbai and record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Earlier in April, the agency had provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 11.15 crore of 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 (town in Palghar) and Padgha (in Thane district).
The attached properties also include a flat in Mumbai's suburb Dadar held by Varsha Raut and eight plots at Kihim beach in Alibaug jointly held by Varsha Raut and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sujit Patkar, the ED said in a statement. According to the ED, Sujit Patkar is a close associate of Sanjay Raut.
It is understood that the agency wants to question Sanjay Raut to know about his "business and other links" with Pravin Raut and Patkar and also about the property deals involving his wife. Pravin Raut was arrested by the ED in February.