The Enforcement Directorate has issued fresh summons to former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in relation to an alleged money laundering case, PTI reported on Saturday. This is the third such notice issued to Deshmukh, who skipped the summons on two previous occasions.
On June 29, the day he was supposed to depose to the Enforcement Directorate after the second summons was sent to him, Deshmukh wrote to the central agency, requesting them to record his statement on “audio/visual mode”. The Nationalist Congress Party leader said he would furnish all information and documents sought by the ED after the central agency gave 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. The investigating agency had summoned him after the raids, but Deshmukh sought more time. The ED then asked him to appear at on June 29, which he again chose to skip.
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.
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.
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.