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Sweat equity claim by close aide of Sanjay Raut an alibi: ED

Raut is the third accused in the charge sheet. The main accused is Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited’s (HDIL) promoter Rakesh Wadhawan. His son Sarang Wadhawan and the firm M/s Guru Ashish Constructions Pvt. Ltd, which was entrusted with the redevelopment project and of which all three were directors at one point, have been named as accused in the case.

Pravin Raut, a close associate of Sanjay Raut, had received Rs. 100 crores from Housing Development Infrastructure Limited between 2008 to 2010 without any valid reason, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said in its charge sheet filed against him last Friday in an Rs. 1,000 crore money laundering case concerning a redevelopment project in Goregaon. In his statement to the ED, Raut claimed part of the Rs. 100 crores were received as sweat equity, but the agency called the claim ‘an alibi’.

Raut is the third accused in the charge sheet. The main accused is Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited’s (HDIL) promoter Rakesh Wadhawan. His son Sarang Wadhawan and the firm M/s Guru Ashish Constructions Pvt. Ltd, which was entrusted with the redevelopment project and of which all three were directors at one point, have been named as accused in the case.

Sweat equity shares are offered by a firm to employees or directors for their contribution or value-addition. The ED stated that Raut had claimed that from Rs 95 crores, Rs. 50 crores were received against the sale of sweat equity. The remaining 45 crores he claimed that he had received from a land deal at Palghar. The agency said that the Rs. 50 crores Raut claimed to receive for 25 percent sweat equity of 1,25,000 shares, was not sweat equity. It said that this was an alibi created by Raut and Rakesh Wadhawan “to create a facade of legitimacy”. This amount was meant for the construction of flats for 672 displaced tenants and other home buyers and was illegally transferred, it alleged.

The agency further stated that Raut’s claim of allotment of sweat equity is not reflected in books of accounts and was outrightly denied by the Chief Financial Officer of Guru Ashish Constructions, who the agency has made a witness in the case.

The accused persons, it said, indulged in generating proceeds of crime of Rs. 1,000 crores. Probe further revealed the charge sheet claimed, that Raut and Wadhawans fraudulently raised money from the redevelopment project to siphon it off without any intention to complete the project, thus jeopardising the interest of 672 tenants whose dwellings had already been demolished.

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