Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member and spokesperson Sanjay Raut's wife Varsha Raut on Monday deposed before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with its money laundering probe into the PMC bank fraud case.
According to ED sources, she arrived at the financial probe agency office in Mumbai in the afternoon.
The source said that she was questioned about the Rs 55 lakh interest free loan transferred to her in 2010 and 2011 by her business partner Madhuri Raut, the wife of Pravin Raut, who has been accused of money laundering in the HDIL case.
The source further said that she was also questioned about her partnership with Madhuri Raut in Avani Construction and how did she receive Rs 12 lakh from the entity (as overdrawn capital converted to loan) on a contribution of Rs 5,625.
According to ED officials, the loan amount of Rs 12 lakh to Varsha Raut is still outstanding.
This is the first time that Varsha Raut has appeared before the ED after being summoned twice by the agency in the case.
The ED has registered a case of money laundering on the basis of FIR registered by Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing against Housing Development Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), its promoter Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, Sarang Wadhawan, Waryam Singh, the then Chairman and Managing Director of the bank Joy Thomas and others for causing loss to the tune of Rs 4,355 crore to PMC Bank and corresponding gain to themselves.
The ED has attached properties worth Rs 72 crore on January 1 of Pravin Raut under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as during investigation, it was revealed that Rs 95 crore has been allegedly siphoned off through HDIL by him in active conspiracy and connivance with various persons.
The ED officials on January 1 had said that the source of the funds was illegal availed loans or advances etc by HDIL from the PMC Bank. There was no document or agreement in support of these payments made to Pravin Raut.
The official further said that as per the ledger of HDIL, the funds were given to him for acquiring land in Palghar area.
The ED official had said it was also found that Raut paid an amount of Rs 1.6 crore to his wife from the proceeds of crime.
Madhuri Raut had transferred Rs 55 lakh out of Rs 1.6 crore to Varsha in 2010 and 2011.
The amount was further utilised for purchase of a flat in Mumbai's Dadar East, the official said.
The notice to Varsha had sparked a huge political row in the state with the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party trading verbal blows.
Sanjay Raut had also accused the BJP at Centre of misusing the central probe agencies like the ED, the CBI, the IT to harass and silence political opponents.