MUMBAI, Nov 9 (PTI): A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday granted bail to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in a money laundering case pertaining to the Patra Chawl redevelopment project.
The court rejected the Enforcement Directorate’s plea urging it not to give effect to the bail order till Friday, paving the way for the release of Rajya Sabha member Raut, who was arrested on July 31 this year and is currently in judicial custody and lodged at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai.
The ED then said it would approach the Bombay High Court seeking cancellation of the bail order and an interim order for a stay on the same, even as a lawyer of Raut said they will try to complete the formalities by Wednesday evening to facilitate his release from the prison.
The court also granted bail to the parliamentarian’s associate and co-accused Pravin Raut.
A lawyer representing the ED said, “We are in the process of filing an appeal seeking cancellation of the bail order. We will be mentioning it before a single bench of the high court this evening, seeking interim stay on the order.”
Raut’s lawyer, however, said they would go ahead with the formalities to ensure the Sena leader walks out of the jail on Wednesday.
Earlier, special Judge M G Deshpande, designated to hear cases pertaining to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), allowed the bail plea of Raut after hearing arguments from both sides.
The ED, however, pleaded before the court not to give effect to the bail order till Friday.
“We need time to read the order, it is not an unreasonable request. It is the court order, it has the power to give effect to the order on a later date. I must be given some chance and opportunity by the court,” Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the ED, submitted before the court.
But, the court rejected the ED’s plea.
The ED had arrested Sanjay Raut for his alleged role in financial irregularities in connection with the redevelopment of the Patra Chawl (row tenement) in suburban Goregaon.
The Sena MP had in his bail plea claimed the case against him was a perfect example of “abuse of power” and “political vendetta”.
However, the central probe agency had opposed the politician’s plea, saying he played a major role in the money laundering case related to the Patra Chawl redevelopment and acted “behind the curtains” to avoid the money trail.
The ED’s probe pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the redevelopment of the Patra Chawl and related financial transactions involving Sanjay Raut’s wife and associates.
Siddharth Nagar, popularly known as the Patra Chawl, in Goregaon is spread over 47 acres and houses 672 tenant families.
In 2008, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), a government agency, assigned a redevelopment contract for the Chawl to Guru Ashish Construction Private Limited (GACPL), a sister company of the Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL).
The GACPL was supposed to build 672 flats for the tenants and also give some flats to MHADA. It was free to sell the remaining land to private developers.
But the tenants did not get a single flat in the last 14 years as the company did not redevelop the Patra Chawl and sold land parcels and Floor Space Index (FSI) to other builders for Rs 1,034 crore, as per the ED played a major role in the money laundering case.