Likely To Seek Relief From Local Court
Mumbai/Nagpur: Skipping the summons of the ED for the fifth time in a row, ex-Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh refused to appear before the central agency at its Mumbai office on Wednesday. His lawyer Inderpal Singh went to the ED office seeking an exemption from personal appearance so that his client can approach a local court for anticipatory bail. On Monday, a three-judge Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Krishna Murari, and V Ramasubramanian had declined to grant him protection from any coercive action in the money laundering case registered by the ED.
At the same time, it granted him liberty to avail of remedies under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Earlier, the ED provisionally attached immovable assets worth Rs.4.2 crore belonging to the ex-Maharashtra Home Minister and his family members under the PMLA. It has also conducted multiple raids at premises linked with him in Mumbai and Nagpur.
The controversy came to the fore on February 20 when ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh leveled serious ‘extortion’ charges against Anil Deshmukh. In a letter addressed to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Singh refuted Deshmukh’s remarks that his transfer was due to serious lapses in the Antilia bomb scare case. Moreover, he alleged that the NCP leader had asked Sachin Vaze to extort Rs.100 crore per month from 1750 bars, restaurants, and other establishments in Mumbai.
CBI & ED commence probe
After the HC directed the CBI to carry out a preliminary enquiry into these allegations, Deshmukh resigned as the Home Minister was replaced by Dilip Walse Patil. On April 21, the CBI registered an FIR against the NCP leader and unknown individuals under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code. According to the FIR, the former Maharashtra Home Minister was aware that dismissed Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze was entrusted with most of the sensational and important cases of Mumbai.
It also accused him and others of exercising undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials and thereby exercising undue influence over the performance of official duties by the officials. Subsequently, the ED filed an ECIR against Anil Deshmukh on May 11 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for allegedly obtaining illegal gratification which was based on the corruption case registered by the CBI. On June 26, it arrested the NCP leader’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde who have been remanded to custody.