A Mumbai Special Court on Thursday extended Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s custody to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) by 4 days till August 8.
The ED has also summoned Raut’s wife Varsha for investigation after certain fresh details have emerged in the case.
Raut, who was arrested in the early hours of Monday in an alleged money-laundering case, was remanded to ED custody till August 4 and produced before a Special PMLA Court this afternoon.
The ED sought an extended custody for Raut till August 10 as it had secured certain documents and wanted to probe related matters, besides investigating other accused in the 2018 case pertaining to money-laundering arising out of the Patra Chawl redevelopment project in Goregaon.
At the hearing, Raut and his lawyers informed the Special Judge M.G. Deshpande of lack of proper ventilation in his jail cell but the ED lawyers dismissed the charges saying he is lodged in an airconditioned cell.
Pleading for custody till August 10, the ED’s Special Counsel Hiten Venegaonkar argued that Raut was not cooperating with the investigators and evading replies, the sleuths wanted to probe the bank transactions in his wife (Varsha Sanjay Raut)’s accounts, comprising Rs 1.08 crore and an additional Rs 1.17 crore.
Raut’s Senior Advocate Manoj Mohite contended that the ED has already carried out a thorough probe and his client’s statement was recorded prior to the arrest on August 1, but hardly any investigation was done after he was taken into custody with the same allegations being repeated.
Special Judge Deshpande said that the ED has made legitimate progress in its probe and certain aspects require to be investigated by confronting the accused with the witnesses.
It may be recalled that the ED had raided Raut’s residence in Bhandup at dawn on Sunday (July 31), interrogated him at his home for nearly 10 hours before taking him to the agency’s office under detention for further questioning, and finally arrested him shortly after midnight on Monday.
The ED has alleged that one of the project developers who indulged in a scam of over Rs 1,039 crore is a close associate of Sanjay Raut.
Raut’s team has claimed that the entire case is politically motivated and intended to harass him as he has been exposing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since the past over two-and-half years.
Meanwhile, Raut’s brother, Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Raut said that they had full faith in the judiciary and the BJP is scared of him.
BJP appoints new bosses for Maharashtra, Mumbai
The Bharatiya Janata Party has appointed former ministers Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Ashish Shelar as the chief of the part’s Maharashtra and Mumbai units, respectively, according to an announcement.
Bawankule and Shelar, both sitting legislators, replace Chandrakant Patil and Mangal Prabhat Lodha, who have been appointed as ministers in the government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, earlier this week.
As per a statement by BJP President J. P. Nadda, both appointments are made with immediate effect, and come ahead of the imminent elections to various civic bodies in the state.
CM Eknath Shinde snubs Thackeray again, drops Shiv Sena from BAC meet
In a fresh snub to ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, his Shiv Sena faction in the Maharashtra Assembly was dropped from the crucial Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meet to prepare for the upcoming Monsoon Session of the Legislature.
Thackeray faction leader and chief whip Ajay Chaudhari had written to Speaker Rahul Narvekar seeking representation to the BAC, but it was rejected.
However, now two ministers from the faction headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde have been included in the BAC — Dada Bhuse and Uday Samant.
The BAC presided over by Shinde and attended by group leaders of all parties on Thursday decided to extend the Monsoon Session by two days and now it will be held from August 17-25.
This was because the legislature will not function on August 19 (Dahi Handi celebrations) and the weekend, and the two additional days would enable discussions and decisions on various issues.
The BAC comprises Assembly members like Shinde, BJP’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, NCP’s Jayant Patil, BJP’s Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar and Chandrakant Patil, and Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan.
Besides, there are other invitees like Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal (NCP), Ashish Shelar (BJP), Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) and Amin Patel (Congress) in the BAC.
From the Council, besides Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe, the BAC has newly-appointed Leader of Opposition Ambadas Danve and Anil Parab, both from Shiv Sena, Pravin Darekar and Vijay Girdhar (BJP), Shashikant Shinde (NCP) and Bhai Jagtap (Congress).
The invitees from the upper house included Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil (BJP), Jayant Patil (PWP), Kapil Patil (Lok Bharati) and Vikas Potnis (Shiv Sena).
After the government headed by Shinde and Fadnavis was sworn-in on June 30, the monsoon session was originally scheduled to start on July 17, but was postponed for various reasons.
Skeletons peep out of Maharashtra CM’s ‘mini-cabinet’, 75% ministers face criminal cases
The 18-member ‘mini-cabinet’ expansion of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis have thrown up many facts, including 75 per cent of the total 20 ‘crorepati’ ministers have criminal cases lodged against them.
According to a study conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a total of 15 ministers have declared criminal cases, including seven from the Shinde Group Shiv Sena and eight from the BJP, in the ‘gents only cabinet’.
Of these, 65 per cent — or 13 ministers — including seven from Shinde Group and six from the BJP have serious criminal cases filed against them.
Of the 20 crorepatis, BJP’s Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a reputed builder, is the richest among the ministers with assets worth Rs 441.65 crore and liabilities of Rs 283.36 crore.
Though a ‘crorepati’, the poorest in the lot is also BJP’s Sandipanrao A. Bhumre with assets of Rs 2.92 crore in his name.
The average assets of the ministers’ whose poll affidavits were analysed by ADR comes to Rs 47 crore — comprising the BJP’s Rs 58 crore and Shinde Group’s Rs 36 crore.
On the academic front, two ministers (or 10 per cent) have declared their educational track record as SSC pass, six (30 per cent) as HSC pass, 11 ministers (55 per cent) are higher qualified with degrees, and only one Dr. Suresh Khade of the BJP holds a doctorate from a university in Sri Lanka.
As far as the age group is concerned, 16 ministers (80 per cent) fall in the upper echelons aged between 51-70, and four (20 per cent) are between 41-50, said the ADR’s Maharashtra Election Watch, coordinated by Ajit Ranade, Sharad Kumar and Satish Khot.
CM Shinde carried out his much-awaited cabinet expansion on Tuesday, inducting 18 ministers, including three allegedly ‘tainted’. No women MLA could find a place in the cabinet and so could not the Independents and smaller parties.
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