Maharashtra’s former home minister Anil Deshmukh has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it around 11 am on Saturday in connection with a money laundering case against the politician related to charges of bribery of Rs 100 crore.
This came hours after ED sleuths arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde, who will be produced before court around the same time.
Officials said that the politician’s aides were arrested after about nine hours of questioning, under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). They alleged that the two men were not cooperating during the questioning that was being held at the central probe agency’s office in Ballard Estate in Mumbai. The two were brought to the ED office after the agency raided their premises in Mumbai and that of Deshmukh (71) in the city apart from another one in Nagpur.
The two will be produced before a special PMLA court in Mumbai on Saturday where the ED will seek their custody for custodial interrogation, they said. The ED case against Deshmukh and others is borne out after the CBI first carried out a preliminary enquiry followed by a regular case being filed on the orders of the Bombay High Court.
The court had asked the agency to look into the allegations of bribery made against Deshmukh by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Deshmukh, who had resigned from his post in April following the allegations, has denied any wrongdoing.
Singh was shunted out from the post after the role of assistant police inspector Sachin Waze, who has since been dismissed from service, surfaced during investigation into an explosive-laden SUV that was found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in Mumbai. In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after he was removed from the police commissioner’s post, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Deshmukh, a leader of the NCP, was the home minister of the state in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government headed by Thackeray. The CBI booked Deshmukh and others under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections related to criminal conspiracy and section of the Prevention of Corruption Act for “attempt to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of public duty".
(With PTI inputs)