The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Maharashtra’s former home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh for questioning in connection with a money laundering case registered against him. Deshmukh has been asked to appear before the investigating officer at the central agency’s Ballard Estate office.
The development comes after ED carried out searches at the NCP leader’s properties in Nagpur and Mumbai on Friday. The probe agency has also arrested his secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde after around nine hours of questioning.
Notably, Deshmukh had to resign from his position after allegations of corruption and misconduct were levied against him by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The anti-money laundering agency has in April lodged a case against Deshmukh for allegedly taking a bribe, based on an FIR filed by the CBI. The former minister, however, has refuted all charges levelled against him.
According to media reports, ED officials have found a money trail of Rs 4 crores that was extorted from around 12 bar owners and collected by former assistant inspector Sachin Vaze over a few months. This money was allegedly diverted to Deshmukh through some shell companies located outside Maharashtra. The companies are owned by a close relative of Deshmukh.
ED is scrutinising the accounts of over 40 companies having direct or indirect control of Deshmukh. The probe agency had on April 25 carried out search at the Nagpur residence of a close aide of Deshmukh, Sagar Bhatewar. Notably, Bhatewar is a director in several firms owned by the NCP leader.
Param Bir Singh’s allegations against Anil Deshmukh
After Param Bir Singh was shunted out from his position as Mumbai Police chief over his alleged involvement in the Sachin Vaze case, he dropped a ‘letter bomb’ on the Uddhav Thackeray government making strong allegations against Deshmukh.
In the letter, Singh claimed that Deshmukh used to call police officers to his residence and give them a “collection target”. The top cop claimed that the politician used to pressurise cops to collect at least Rs 100 crore per month from pubs, restaurants and other establishments.
He also accused the minister of interfering in investigations, ordering officers to act on basis of his political agenda ignoring the chain of command.
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