Former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case, reported Live Law.
The matter was listed before Justice Revati Mohite Dere but she recused herself from the hearing without giving any reason.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating Deshmukh’s role in the alleged money laundering case based on a First Information Report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The CBI is conducting an investigation on Bombay High Court’s directions into allegations that Deshmukh coerced police officers to extort money on his behalf from the owners of bars and restaurants in Mumbai. Former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh had levelled the allegations of extortion in March.
Singh had alleged that dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze told him that Deshmukh had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels.
The Enforcement Directorate has issued five summons to Deshmukh so far. But the Nationalist Congress Party leader has not appeared before the central agency.
The last summons was issued by the Enforcement Directorate on August 18, a day after the Supreme Court refused to provide the former minister interim protection from coercive action by the central agency. The court, however, had allowed Deshmukh to seek other remedies available to him under the Criminal Procedure Code.
Deshmukh had then written to the central agency, citing the court’s order, and said that he has decided to approach an appropriate court for relief in the case.
In his petition before the Bombay High Court, Deshmukh has asked it to transfer the inquiry into the alleged money laundering to a special investigation team, besides requesting the quashing of summons.
The plea says that the special investigation team should comprise Enforcement Directorate officials not working at the agency’s Mumbai Zone office.
The Enforcement Directorate has so far 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.
Earlier on Thursday, the CBI had arrested one of its own sub-inspectors and Deshmukh’s lawyer Anand Daga. The CBI alleged that Daga bribed its official to manipulate the agency’s preliminary enquiry report “in an attempt to subvert the case”.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that he has sought a detailed report from the police on the lawyer’s arrest, reported ANI.