Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh did not to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday after the investigating agency summoned him for questioning in an alleged money laundering case, ANI reported.
Deshmukh wrote to the Enforcement Directorate, requesting them to record his statement on “audio/visual mode”.
“I am a septuagenarian, about 72 years of age, suffering from various comorbidities including hypertension and cardiac problems,” Deshmukh wrote to the agency, according to The Indian Express. “...Thus, it may not be prudent or desirable to appear in person today and I am sending my authorised representative.”
The former Maharashtra minister added that he would furnish all information and documents sought by the ED after the central agency gives him a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report.
On June 25, the ED had raided Deshmukh’s home in Nagpur in relation to the case. Last week too, the investigating agency had summoned him after the raids, but Deshmukh sought more time. The ED had then asked him to appear at 11 am on Tuesday.
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.
ED has already arrested Deshmukh’s private secretary Sanjeev Palande and private assistant Kundan Shinde in connection with the case. In its remand application, the agency said 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.
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 an 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.