Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here to record his statement in an alleged money laundering case, and left after more than ten hours. He answered all questions, and would appear before the central agency again if summoned, he told reporters. Raut reached the ED office at Ballard Estate in south Mumbai around 11.30 in the morning, and left around 10 at night. “I gave full cooperation and answered all their questions. I will appear again if they call me,” the Rajya Sabha member said, speaking to the media outside.
Earlier, heavy police force was deployed outside the central agency’s office as a large number of Shiv Sena workers were present at the spot. Barricades were placed on the roads leading to the office. After his arrival, the Sena MP, sporting a saffron muffler around his neck, waved at his supporters before entering the office with his lawyer.
Speaking to reporters before going inside, Raut had said, “I will cooperate with the agency in the investigation. It had summoned me, they require some information from me and it is my duty as a Member of Parliament, a responsible citizen and a leader of a political party to cooperate with them.” He said he was “fearless and undaunted” as he has “not done anything wrong in life”. When asked whether it is a politically motivated case, Raut said, “We will come to know that later. I think I am appearing before an agency which is neutral, and I have full confidence in them.”
The Sena leader had also posted a tweet saying, “I will be appearing before the ED today at 12 noon. I respect the Summons issued to me and it’s my duty to co-operate with the Investigation agencies. I appeal Shiv Sena workers not to gather at the ED office. Don’t worry !” The ED had summoned the Rajya Sabha member for questioning in the money laundering probe linked to the re-development of a Mumbai ‘chawl’ (tenement) and related financial transactions involving his wife and friends.
The agency had earlier summoned him on June 28. However, Raut had termed the ED’s summons as a “conspiracy” to stop him from fighting against the Shiv Sena’s political opponents in the wake of a rebellion by party MLAs, and said he will not be able to appear before the agency on Tuesday as he had to attend a meeting in Alibag (Raigad district). The ED then issued a fresh summons and asked him to appear before it on Friday.