Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday said he will appear before the ED, which had summoned him in connection with its probe into a money laundering case, “after the legal process is completed". Deshmukh in a statement claimed the “Supreme Court has accepted his plea on the ED and it will be heard soon".
The SC on Monday refused to grant interim relief to NCP leader Deshmukh, who was seeking protection from any coercive action in connection with the money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). A three-judge bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, while hearing a batch of pleas including those challenging the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said Desmukh is at liberty to access remedies available to him under the law.
Deshmukh in his statement said the apex court on Monday allowed him to move a lower court as well for lawful remedies under the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code). “The legal process has begun and I will appear before the ED after the legal process is completed. I will cooperate with the ED. I have always followed high standards in my entire social-political life," he said. The ED had earlier issued summons to Deshmukh in connection with a criminal case registered under the PMLA related to an alleged Rs 100 crore bribery-cum-extortion racket that led to the the 71-year-old NCP leader’s resignation in April this year. Deshmukh skipped appearing before the ED for the firth time on Wednesday and had stated that he was taking recourse to “lawful remedies" for the protection of his liberty. He had a three-page reply to the investigating officer of the case through his lawyer, saying the Supreme Court has “made it open for me to take recourse to all appropriate remedies available under CrPC including filing of a quashing petition".
The NCP leader had said he was taking recourse to legal remedies for the protection of his liberty “within a day or two". Deshmukh had also said he was a “law abiding citizen" as he requested the agency to record his statement through an electronic medium, till the time “appropriate orders are passed by court(s)" The ED’s case against Deshmukh and others was registered after the CBI had lodged a corruption case related to allegations of at least Rs 100 crore bribery.
Deshmukh was accused of asking suspended Mumbai police assistant police inspector Sachin Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants in the city. Deshmukh, who resigned from his post in April following the allegations, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The ED had arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary and personal assistant after it carried out raids against them and the NCP leader in Mumbai and Nagpur.