A local court in Mumbai on Friday directed former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh to appear before it on November 16 in an alleged money laundering case, reported Bar and Bench. The court issued a process, or a legal notice, to Deshmukh on a plea filed by the Enforcement Directorate.
In its plea, the Enforcement Directorate said that the Nationalist Congress Party leader failed to appear before the agency for questioning in the case even after it issued five summons to him. Deshmukh had skipped all the summons and moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash them.
“The summons were served upon the accused [Deshmukh]; inspite of that he has willfuly neglected to appear before complainant,” the lawyers appearing for the central agency argued.
The Enforcement Directorate claimed that Deshmukh committed offence under Section 174 of the Indian Penal Code and sought the court’s intervention. Under this section, a court can direct action against a person not obeying a summons, notice, order or proclamation from a public servant.
On Friday, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RM Nirlekar said that prima facie case has been made out against Deshmukh and issued the process.
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 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.
The Enforcement Directorate had issued the last summons 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.
Deshmukh has also asked the Bombay High Court to transfer the inquiry into the alleged money laundering case to a special investigation team.