Arrest Of Sena MP Sanjay Raut Illegal: Court Lambasts ED

In a massive relief to Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, a Special PMLA Court granted him bail in connection with the Patra Chawl money laundering case. The court also came down heavily on the ED saying his arrest was “illegal”.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 10 November, 2022 12:35 am IST
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut

In a massive relief to Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, a Special Prevention of Money Laundering Court (PMLA) Court on Wednesday granted him bail in connection with the Patra Chawl money laundering case.

The court also came down heavily on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) saying his arrest was “illegal”.

Raut, who belongs to the former Maharashtra Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena camp, was arrested on July 31 after eight hours of questioning.

Speaking to The New Indian, Raut’s lawyer Vikrant Sabne said, “The court said that the arrest of the accused, especially Sanjay Raut for no reason was illegal.”

In its bail order, the Special PMLA court said that Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan, for their misdeeds and being the main accused persons who admitted the same by affidavit of Sarang Wadhawan, were not arrested by the ED and they have been left scot-free.

“But at the same time, Pravin Raut was arrested for civil dispute, whereas Sanjay Raut for no reason. All this clearly indicates disparity, pick and choose attitude of the ED and the Court cannot put premium on the same but legally bound to make parity,” the court noted.

It also said that if the court still accepts the contention of ED and Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and further rejects the bail applications of Pravin Raut and Sanjay Raut that will amount to putting a premium on such pick-and-choose strategies of the central financial probe agency.

“Certainly in that event, any common man, innocent and honest people, will lose faith and confidence which they have reposed in the judicial system as a temple of justice. Hence, judicial principles which guide the Court cannot be ignored,” the order said.

The court also said that even if MHADA, who is a party to every stage and every litigation which had reached the High Court, astonishingly lodged an FIR in 2018 for the facts and circumstances of the transaction which had allegedly taken place from 2006 to 2013.

“In this way the conduct of MHADA right from the beginning till date is suspicious and even ED admitted the same in their complaints, yet ED has not made any MHADA staff accused,” the order said.

It further said that MHADA’s attitude as such lodging FIR in 2018 on one fine morning can neither throw dust in the eyes of the Court nor can brush off and wash out long civil litigations which were even acknowledged by the High Court. “Hence, this Court cannot join its voice in the chorus of ED and MHADA,” the order read.

Raut was released from Arthur Road jail on Wednesday evening after spending more than three months in jail.

Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction had criticized the ED for its action against Sanjay Raut, who is also the editor of the party’s mouthpiece Saamna and party spokesperson.

The ED had previously attached property worth ₹9 crores belonging to Sanjay Raut’s ‘aide’ Pravin Raut and assets worth around ₹2 crores belonging to Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha in the ₹1,034 crore Patra Chawl land scam case.

The financial probe agency had filed a charge sheet in a money laundering case against Sanjay Raut, Pravin Raut and others.

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