Central agencies have been turned into slaves, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) on Friday, two days after Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut was released in a money laundering case. The comments were made in an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana.
Raut was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on July 31. A special court on Wednesday granted bail to the Rajya Sabha MP, observing that his arrest was illegal. Raut walked out of Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison on the same day.
In the editorial, the Shiv Sena reiterated the court’s observation that the Enforcement Directorate arrested Raut illegally.
“There is no rule of law in the country,” read the Saamana editorial. “There is pressure on judiciary and central agencies have turned slaves and this was evident in the Sanjay Raut case. The central government is misusing its probe agencies and a special court in Mumbai has put a seal on it.”
The editorial also alleged that seven Maharashtra ministers belonging to the Bharatiya Janta Party and 15 MLA-MPs of the ruling party can be accused of being in money laundering but the Enforcement Directorate that investigates such cases “chooses” its accused.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating Raut’s involvement in the Patra Chawl scam, which involves an alleged fraud of Rs 1,034 crore. The agency has alleged that Raut and his aides made fraudulent financial transactions related to the redevelopment of the chawl – a building consisting of several tenements – in Mumbai.
Raut’s wife and construction company HDIL’s promoter Rakesh Wadhwan have also been accused of fraudulently raising money for the project to siphon off the amount with no intention of completing the project. The money was used by Raut to purchase properties in the Dadar area in Mumbai and Kihim in Alibaug, alleged the central agency.
On Wednesday, special judge MG Deshpande had allowed the bail petition of Sanjay Raut and his aide Pravin Raut.
“I hold that both accused are basically arrested illegally,” Deshpande had said. “Both of them are entitled to parity in view of the disparity made by the Enforcement Directorate in not arresting the main accused persons Rakesh and Sarang, their HDIL, MHADA and government officials responsible for misdeeds of the Wadhawans at the relevant time.”
The court had also observed that an innocent person cannot be dragged into a dispute in the name of money laundering as it said that the twin conditions for grant of bail were not applicable in their case.