The Enforcement Directorate on Friday attached assets worth Rs 4.2 crore belonging to former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and his family in connection with a money laundering case.
The attached assets include a residential flat worth Rs 1.54 crore, located in Worli, Mumbai, and 25 land parcels valued at Rs 2.67 crore located in Dhutum village of Maharashtra’s Raigad district, the central agency said in a statement.
The Enforcement Directorate said that its investigation found that Deshmukh, during his tenure as the Maharashtra home minister, “received illegal gratification of approximately Rs 4.70 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners” through Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who has now been suspended from his post.
The investigating agency found that Deshmukh’s family was also involved in the case. The family laundered Rs 4.18 crore through Delhi-based dummy companies and declared it as amount received by a trust named Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha, the ED said.
The Worli flat attached by ED was paid for in cash in 2004 and registered in the name of Aarti Deshmukh, the minister’s wife. However, the sale deed for the property was done in February this year, during Deshmukh’s tenure as home minister.
The minister also acquired 50% partnership in a private company by the name “M/s Premier Port Links Private Limited” by paying Rs 17.95 lakh, while the assets were worth Rs 5.34 crore. Even this payment was made “after a substantial gap”, the Enforcement Directorate said.
Former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh had in March accused Deshmukh of extorting money from bars and restaurants in the city, triggering a political row in the state. Deshmukh repeatedly denied the accusations but resigned from the state Cabinet on April 5 after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary inquiry against him.
In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the former police chief wrote that Sachin Vaze told him that the minister had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels.
After the High Court’s order, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a First Information Report in April. Based on that FIR, the Enforcement Directorate also filed a money laundering case against the Nationalist Congress Party leader.
On June 25, the Enforcement Directorate had raided Deshmukh’s home in Nagpur in relation to the case. Subsequently, the agency arrested two of his aides, Sanjeev Palande and Kundan Shinde, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The investigating agency had summoned him after the raids, but Deshmukh sought more time. The agency then asked him to appear at on June 29, which he again chose to skip. He skipped a third summons on July 5, alleging that the investigation against him was not transparent.
Deshmukh moved the Supreme Court on July 4, seeking protection from coercive action in the money laundering case.