The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday registered a case against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in connection with the corruption allegations against him and carried out searches at his home in Mumbai, PTI reported.
He has been charged under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act which deals with illegal gratification obtained by a public servant and for criminal conspiracy under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, The Indian Express reported.
The former minister was summoned by the central agency for questioning on April 14 after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh accused him of directing his subordinates to exhort money from bars, restaurants and hotels in Mumbai.
During the inquiry, the CBI reportedly said it found enough prima facie material to start a formal probe against Deshmukh and other unidentified persons under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. After registering the case, the CBI started a search operation at a number of locations in Mumbai, they said, according to PTI.
Though Deshmukh has constantly denied any impropriety, he resigned from the state Cabinet on April 5 after the Bombay High Court directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations against him.
On April 8, the Supreme Court had dismissed the Maharashtra government and Deshmukh’s petitions to cancel the CBI inquiry against him. The top court had said that the allegations against Deshmukh were a matter of public confidence.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Deshmukh’s party colleague and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said the former state home minister was cooperating with the agencies and that nobody was above the law, PTI reported.
“This is nothing but misuse of power to malign the state government and Anil Deshmukh,” Malik added. “We have full faith in the judiciary and know that the truth behind the political conspiracy will be exposed through the probe.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the CBI was doing its work and so was the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra. “If there is a political agenda in the case against Anil Deshmukh, then the MVA government will take a stand,” he said. “Hope the action against Deshmukh is restricted to directives of the High Court.”
Allegations against Deshmukh
On March 20, Singh had accused Deshmukh of extorting money from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours in Mumbai. In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the former police chief wrote that suspended Crime Branch officer Sachin Vaze told him that the minister had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels.
Singh had also accused the former state home minister of frequently interfering with police investigations in various cases.
On April 7, suspended Mumbai Police officer Vaze corroborated Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh. In a letter he intended to submit to the special National Investigation Agency court, Vaze alleged that Deshmukh and Transport Minister Anil Parab demanded more than Rs 100 crore from him. Vaze is facing proceedings in connection with the explosives found near the home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, and the subsequent death of businessman Mansukh Hiren.