The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday filed an affidavit before the Bombay High Court, saying that former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was the main conspirator in a money laundering case, Bar and Bench reported.

The central agency, while opposing Deshmukh’s bail, also alleged that he had been unable to explain the source of huge wealth and proceeds of the crime amounting to Rs 1.71 crore that he received between February and March 2021.

He had allegedly received the amount in the bank account of Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha.

The money laundering case is related to accusations made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh who had written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in March last year alleging that Deshmukh had asked some officers to extort Rs 100 crore every month from bars and restaurants in the city.

Deshmukh, a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, has denied the accusations, but he resigned from the Maharashtra Cabinet on April 5, 2021, after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary inquiry against him.

He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on November 2.

On January 18, a special court in Mumbai had rejected the former minister’s default bail plea. He then moved the High Court, stating in his plea that he is a “victim of gross persecution”, Bar and Bench reported.

While opposing Deshmukh’s bail on Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate said that the former minister had “exercised undue influence to pass favourable transfers and postings of police officials”, The Hindu reported.

The central agency also said that Deshmukh had not cooperated with the inquiry and had instead challenged it in the courts, Bar and Bench reported.

“He is an influential person having deep political roots and there is every likelihood of him obfuscating the trail of proceeds of crime,” the agency added.

The High Court has scheduled the matter for a hearing on Friday.