PMC bank case: Sanjay Raut's wife skips ED summons, seeks time till Jan 5

Varsha Raut, wife of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, on Tuesday skipped questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in the over Rs 4,300-crore PMC Bank money laundering case, official sources said.

They said she has asked for an adjournment of the latest summons and has sought a fresh date of January 5 for deposing before the central probe agency in Mumbai.

It was not immediately clear if the ED has agreed to the request.

The ED wants to question Varsha Raut with regard to a transaction of about Rs 55 lakh with the wife of a person who is accused in the PMC Bank alleged fraud case.

ED sources had said that it was the third summons issued to her after she skipped two earlier ones on health grounds, they said.

The summonses for questioning were issued to her under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Sanjay Raut, while holding a press conference in Mumbai on Monday, had denied any wrongdoing on the part of his wife and said they have been in correspondence with the probe agency in connection with the case for about one-and-a-half months.

Raut is a Rajya Sabha MP and also a spokesperson of the Shiv Sena, which is in power in Maharashtra and is a former ally of the BJP.

He said details regarding this loan transaction had already been submitted to the ED during the correspondence.

"We are middle-class people. My wife had taken a loan from a friend 10 years ago to purchase a house. Details have been given to the Income-tax (department) and also mentioned in my Raya Sabha affidavit. The ED woke up to this deal after ten years," he told the conference.

Sanjay Raut had alleged that central agencies were being used to "destabilise" the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra.

The ED had filed a PMLA case to probe the alleged loan fraud in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank in October last year against Housing Development Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), its promoters Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, his son Sarang Wadhawan, its former chairman Waryam Singh and ex-managing director Joy Thomas.

It took cognisance of a Mumbai Police economic offences wing FIR against them that charged them for causing "wrongful loss, prima facie to the tune of Rs 4,355 crore to PMC Bank, and corresponding gains to themselves".

The Shiv Sena, which is ruling Maharashtra as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government along with the NCP and Congress, had earlier alleged that the central probe agencies have been targeting them unfairly.

Former BJP leader Eknath Khadse who has recently joined Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), has also been summoned by the ED for questioning on Wednesday in Mumbai in connection with a money laundering case linked to a land deal in Pune's Bhosri area.

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