Updated: October 2, 2021 12:38:07 am
Legal action was initiated against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Friday with the metropolitan magistrate’s court directing him to appear before it on November 16 in connection with money laundering of bribes allegedly collected from bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R M Nerlikar said that a prima facie case has been made out against Deshmukh to issue process against him for non-appearance before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) despite being issued summons.
“Considered submissions and documents filed… and summons issued. It appears that the said summons were served upon accused (Deshmukh) and received by accused. Other summons received on his behalf by his daughter and one by advocate of accused. Considering the aspect and submissions made by complainant, prima facie case is made out against accused,” the court said.
It issued process against Deshmukh under Section 174 of the Indian Penal Code. Under Section 174, the court can direct action against a person not obeying a summons, notice, order or proclamation from any legally competent public servant.
The ED had filed an application before the court last month stating that between June and August, Deshmukh was summoned five times but did not appear before it. Its prosecutor Arvind Aghav told before the court that one of the summons sent to Deshmukh was received by him, while others were received by his daughter and lawyer. He argued that Deshmukh had “wilfully neglected” the summons and not cooperated with the probe.
The central agency said the complaint was filed by its assistant director, who is a public servant.
The ED submitted that 13 companies linked to Deshmukh and his family members were being probed for alleged money laundering. It said that a case was first registered by the CBI based on orders from the Bombay High Court on a public interest litigation. The ED then filed its own complaint alleging that donations were made to a Nagpur-based trust linked to Deshmukh, which were actually means of laundering money through his companies.
The ED has so far arrested two persons, the private assistant and private secretary of Deshmukh, in the case. Last month, it had filed a chargesheet in the case naming the two arrested men, dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze and 10 others.
The agency has alleged that between December 2020 and March 2021, Rs 4.7 crore was received as bribes from various establishments by Waze at the behest of Deshmukh. The ED has not named Deshmukh in the chargesheet stating that it has been difficult to probe the case in his absence.
Deshmukh had responded to the summons stating that he was willing to appear before the ED through video conference, citing his age and the Covid-19 pandemic. He had claimed that the case against him was political in nature and the allegations were false.
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