The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday sent another summons to former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in connection with a money laundering investigation against him, PTI reported. The Nationalist Congress Party leader has skipped four such notices so far.

The Enforcement Directorate has asked Deshmukh to come to its office in South Mumbai on Wednesday.

The latest summons was sent a day after the Supreme Court refused to provide Deshmukh interim protection from coercive action by the central agency, the Hindustan Times reported.

His counsel said the case was a classic “political witch-hunt”. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, opposed this and said there were serious allegations of money laundering in the case.

A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Krishna Murari and V Ramasubramanian, however, allowed Deshmukh to seek other remedies available to him under the Criminal Procedure Code.

After the Enforcement Directorate sent him the third summons, Deshmukh had urged the agency to defer the notice and wait for the Supreme Court’s order on his petition.

Following the fourth summons, he sent a letter to the Enforcement Directorate alleging that the investigation into the case was “neither fair nor impartial”.

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.

The Central Bureau of Investigation 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 arrested Deshmukh’s private secretary Sanjeev Palande and private assistant Kundan Shinde in connection with the case. The central 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.