Money trail: Deshmukh got Rs 4 crore from Mumbai’s 10 bar owners for 3 months: ED

Nagpur: Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh could find himself in troubled water as a probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has established the money trail of Rs 4 crore, which was allegedly paid by about 10 bar owners in Mumbai for three months, according to a report in The Indian Express.

Notably, the ED is conducting searches at four locations, including the residence of Deshmukh in Nagpur, in connection with the new findings in the money laundering case registered against the senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader. In Mumbai, the probe agency is also searching the premises of Deshmukh’s Personal Assistant Kundan Shinde and Personal Secretary Sanjeev Palande, based on the evidence gathered by ED on the alleged cash payments by the bar owners to Deshmukh.

The Indian Express report further said that the anti-money laundering agency has recorded the statements of over 10 bar owners in connection with the case. The ED probe into the financial transactions of Deshmukh is in line with CBI probe into allegations that the former Minister had asked police officers, including the now dismissed Assistant Police Inspector (API) Sachin Waze, to illegally collect Rs 100 crore including Rs 40-50 crore each month from 1750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.

Deshmukh has denied the allegations which were made on March 20 by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in an eight-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, sent out after he was shunted out from his position as the Mumbai police chief.

The ED registered a case against Deshmukh for allegedly obtaining illegal gratification, based on an FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in April. The CBI said Deshmukh used his official position to obtain certain undue advantage and had also influenced the transfers and postings in the Mumbai Police, as alleged by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The report further said that Waze is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the Ambani house bomb scare case and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran. Waze had earlier submitted a letter to the NIA court supporting the allegations made by Singh against Deshmukh and also levelled corruption charges against Transport Minister Anil Parab of the Shiv Sena. Waze alleged that Deshmukh had asked him to pay Rs 2 crore for his reinstatement in the Mumbai Police. The court, however, has not taken the letter on record. After a decade-and-a-half of being suspended in a case of custodial death, Waze had rejoined the police force in 2020.

Earlier on April 25, the ED had searched the Nagpur residence of Sagar Bhatewar, a close aide of Deshmukh, who is also a director on several firms controlled by the family of Deshmukh.