Former Maharashtra Home Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Anil Deshmukh on Sunday moved the Supreme Court, asking protection from coercive action in an alleged money laundering case, reported PTI.
Deshmukh has been summoned for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate thrice, but he has skipped them every time. The Nationalist Congress Party leader said he would furnish all the information and documents sought by the agency after it gave him a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report.
The former Maharashtra minister has also offered to answer questions through video conferencing.
On June 25, the Enforcement Directorate 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 agency then asked him to appear at on June 29, which he again chose to skip.
Though Deshmukh has constantly denied any impropriety, he resigned from the state Cabinet on April 5 after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the 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.
On April 24, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a First Information Report. In May, the Enforcement Directorate also filed a money laundering case against the Nationalist Congress Party leader, based on the FIR filed by the CBI.
Allegations against Anil 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. 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, the state government transferred Singh, who was handling the investigation, to the low-key Home Guard department. The police officer made the allegations after his transfer.
The Enforcement Directorate has already arrested Deshmukh’s private secretary Sanjeev Palande and private assistant Kundan Shinde in connection with the case. The agency has 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.