Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday skipped the fourth summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case, the Hindustan Times reported.

The Nationalist Congress Party leader sent a letter to the agency through his lawyer instead, alleging that the investigation was “neither fair nor impartial”.

Deshmukh had approached the Supreme Court last month seeking protection from any coercive action in the money laundering case. In a hearing on July 30, the top court adjourned the case till August 3.

The NCP leader, in his letter on Monday, objected to the summons asking him to appear before the agency just a day before the next hearing. “Brute abuse of power and authority is apparent on the face of the record,” Deshmukh was quoted as saying by ANI.

“I shall abide by the orders of the courts of law and would submit myself to any appropriate direction or order that may be passed by the courts in due course of law,” he said. “I am more than eager to associate with the purported enquiry/investigations being carried out by your office so as to lay bare the hollowness, falsity and lack of substance therein.”

Deshmukh had not appeared for the previous three summons either, and had sent his lawyer instead. He had cited the Supreme Court case in his response to the third summons as well. He had urged the Enforcement Directorate to defer the summons and await the Supreme Court’s order on his petition.

The agency is now considering taking legal action against Deshmukh for skipping the summons, Times Now reported.

Allegations against Deshmukh

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.

Singh alleged that suspended police officer Sachin Vaze told him that Deshmukh had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels.

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Maharashtra: NCP’s Anil Deshmukh moves SC against coercive action in alleged money laundering case

The CBI filed a First Information Report against Deshmukh in April. Based on that FIR, the Enforcement Directorate filed a case against him in May.

The Enforcement Directorate has already arrested Deshmukh’s private secretary Sanjeev Palande and private assistant Kundan Shinde in connection with the case. The agency has said that more than Rs 4 crore collected from bar owners between December and February was routed to Deshmukh’s charitable trust in Nagpur through four shell companies in Delhi.