Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a land scam case. He has been asked to appear at 11 AM before the ED sleuths for questioning at the agency's office in south Mumbai office on Tuesday.
ED's Joint Director Satyavrat Kumar confirmed that a summon has been served to Sena's Rajya Sabha MP. The summon has been issued in connection with a case linked to Pravin Raut and Patra Chawl land scam. The agency had earlier attached some properties linked to Raut and his family members.
The agency wants to record the Rajya Sabha MP's statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Reacting to the ED's summon, Raut termed the summons a conspiracy. "I just came to know that ED has summoned me. Good! There are big political developments in Maharashtra. We, Balasaheb's Shivsainiks are fighting a big battle. This is a conspiracy to stop me. Even if you behead me, I won't take the Guwahati route. Arrest me!" he tweeted.
Speaking to reporters later, Raut said that the summon is an attempt to stop him and vowed that he will not buckle under any pressure. Raut said that he will surely appear before the ED but not tomorrow as he has a public meeting to address in Alibag.
In April, the ED provisionally attached assets worth more than 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.
The ED's summon to Raut, who is considered to be a confidant of Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, comes amidst mounting trouble for the party in the wake of internal rebellion.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is on the verge of collapse following a revolt by Sena strongman Eknath Shinde and at least 40 party MLAs. Several Independents have already withdrawn their support from the MVA government and sided with the Shinde camp.