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

The Enforcement Directorate had issued the summons to Deshmukh on Tuesday, a day after the Supreme Court refused to provide him interim protection from coercive action by the central agency. The court, however, allowed Deshmukh to seek other remedies available to him under the Criminal Procedure Code.

On Wednesday, Deshmukh’s counsel, advocate Inderpal Singh, submitted a letter from the Nationalist Congress Party leader. The letter cited the court’s order granting him liberty to seek remedies and said that Deshmukh has decided to approach an appropriate court in a span of two days.

The NCP leader asked the Enforcement Directorate to wait for the verdict of the court that he will approach. Deshmukh said that he was a “law-abiding citizen” and offered to record his statement through an electronic medium, reported PTI.

Deshmukh had not appeared for the previous four summons either. Responding to the fourth summons too, the NCP leader had sent a letter to the agency and alleged that the investigation against him was “neither fair nor impartial”. At that time, the Supreme Court was hearing Deshmukh’s petition seeking interim protection from coercive action.

Allegations against Deshmukh

Former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh had in March accused Deshmukh of extorting money from the owners of bars and restaurants in the city. 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.

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.

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 claimed 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.