A Mumbai court on Monday remanded former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till November 6 in a money laundering case, Live Law reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested Deshmukh after questioning him for over 12 hours.
On Monday, the former Maharashtra minister had appeared before the central agency after he was summoned for questioning for the sixth time in relation to the money laundering case. Deshmukh had skipped five summons sent to him.
During the hearing at a special holiday court in Mumbai, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the Enforcement Directorate, sought Deshmukh’s custody for 14 days.
Advocate Vikram Chaudhri argued that the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court have held that the Nationalist Congress Party leader has not been named as an accused in the case.
He also sought relief on health grounds, saying that Deshmukh was suffering from a heart ailment and one of his shoulders was dislocated, Live Law reported.
In March, Deshmukh had been accused by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh of coercing police officers to extort money on his behalf from the owners of bars and restaurants in the city.
Deshmukh repeatedly denied the accusations, but he resigned from the Maharashtra Cabinet on April 5 after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary inquiry against him.
The CBI is investigating Deshmukh for exercising “undue influence” over the transfer and postings of police officers. On Sunday, it arrested an alleged middleman in connection with the money laundering and corruption case.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating Deshmukh based on the CBI inquiry. The economic intelligence agency has claimed that more than Rs 4 crore collected from bar owners in Mumbai between December and February was routed to Deshmukh’s charitable trust in Nagpur through four shell companies in Delhi.
Deshmukh had reached the Enforcement Directorate’s office in Mumbai at 12 pm on Monday and was questioned there till after 12 am, according to The Indian Express. He was arrested at 1.30 am, unidentified officials told the newspaper.
Before appearing for questioning, Deshmukh had again refuted the accusations against him.
“On account of a witch-hunt campaign launched at the instance of certain vested inimical interests, some blatantly false allegations have been levelled by those persons who have absolutely no credibility, honour or pride,” he had said, according to The Indian Express.
Deshmukh had added that when the Enforcement Directorate raided his house and other establishments, his family and staff had cooperated with the officials.
Anil Deshmukh’s arrest is ‘politically motivated’: Nawab Malik
On Tuesday, Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik described Deshmukh’s arrest as “politically motivated”, reported PTI. “It is aimed at scaring the leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi,” he claimed.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi is a term used to refer to the coalition government formed by the Congress, Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirit Somaiya welcomed Deshmukh’s arrest and said that Shiv Sena leader and state minister Anil Parab will be the next person to face action by a central agency.
In June, Somaiya had alleged Parab was involved in construction of multiple illegal properties in Ratnagiri district.