The Enforcement Directorate on Friday raided the home of former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh in Nagpur in connection with an alleged money laundering case, ANI reported. Deshmukh, who held the home portfolio in the Uddhav Thackeray Cabinet in Maharashtra, resigned from his post in April after he was accused of corruption.
The Central Bureau of Investigation filed a First Information Report on the matter. Later, the Enforcement Directorate also filed a money laundering case against the Nationalist Congress Party leader, based on the FIR filed by the CBI.
The Enforcement Directorate is also conducting searches at the premises of Deshmukh’s personal assistant Kundan Shinde and personal secretary Sanjeev Palande, according to The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, NCP MP Supriya Sule accused the Modi government of misusing central agencies. “The BJP accuses the Congress of Emergency excesses all the time,” she said. “What we are witnessing today has probably never been seen or heard. This is the first time I am witnessing this kind of misuse of central agencies against political opponents. This is a new SOP which BJP has come up with, it seems to be BJP’s style of operation.”
Sule said that the NCP will fight back, while pointing out that the raids were being conducted at a time when India is facing a big challenge. “Instead of effectively tackling Covid and focusing its attention on rising unemployment and health care, the central government is busy playing vendetta politics,” she alleged.
Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil claimed that the raids were being conducted as the Enforcement Directorate had failed to find evidence during their investigation.
Charges against Deshmukh
On March 20, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had accused Deshmukh of extorting money from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours in Mumbai. In a letter to Thackeray, Singh alleged that suspended police officer Sachin Vaze told him that Deshmukh had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels.
Vaze was suspended and sent to the custody of the National Investigation Agency for his alleged role in placing the explosives-laden vehicle at Carmichael Road, near the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai, on March 15. Two days later, Singh, who was handling the investigation, was transferred from his position to the low-key Home Guard department by the state government. Singh had made the allegations after his transfer.
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.