Updated: August 2, 2021 10:05:31 pm
Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday failed to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) again in connection with its probe into an alleged money laundering case and accused the agency of abusing its power in its investigation.
In a letter to the probe agency, Deshmukh said he was shocked and concerned over fresh summons issued by the ED asking him and his son, Hrishikesh Deshmukh, to appear in person on August 2 as he has challenged the “entire investigation” launched by the agency in the Supreme Court, which is due to hear the matter Tuesday.
“With regard to the subject summons, at the outset, I may express my grave dismay, shock and concern, especially to the timing of the issuance thereof. As you are well aware as a contesting respondent that the entire investigations being carried out by your office has been challenged by me before the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” Deshmukh stated in his response Monday.
Deshmukh in his petition before the apex court has contended that the ED probe against him is “actuated with malice both in law as well as fact” and stands “vitiated on account of grave violation of the procedure established by law”.
“…your subject summons, issued soon after the date of the hearing of the matter by the Supreme Court and seeking my personal appearance on a day prior to the next hearing before the Supreme Court, substantially strengthens my apprehensions that investigations being carried out by you are neither fair nor just or above-board. Brute abuse of power and authority is apparent on the face of the record,” Deshmukh said.
He also said that the agency was yet to give him a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) in the case.
The NCP leader had earlier skipped the ED summons three times. In his first reply, Deshmukh said he was unable to appear in person before the agency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Subsequently, he asked the ED to wait for the Supreme Court to decide his petition seeking protection from coercive action by the probe agencies in the case.
Last month, the ED probe found that Deshmukh, while acting as the home minister of Maharashtra, “received illegal gratification of approximately Rs 4.7 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners” through now dismissed Mumbai Police API Sachin Waze, arrested in the Ambani terror scare case.
According to the ED, Deshmukh’s family “laundered the tainted sum of Rs 4.18 crore and projected it as untainted by showing the same amount received by the trust, namely Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha”.
The ED probe into Deshmukh’s financial transactions is in line with the CBI probe into former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s allegations of corruption against the NCP leader. Deshmukh has denied the allegations. In his March 20 letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, after he was removed as the Mumbai Police chief, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked police officers, including now suspended API Sachin Waze, to collect Rs 100 crore, including Rs 40-50 crore each month, from 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
The ED registered a case against Deshmukh for allegedly obtaining illegal gratification, based on an FIR filed by the CBI in April. The CBI FIR said Deshmukh had used his official position to obtain certain undue advantages and had also influenced transfers and postings in the Mumbai Police, as alleged by Singh.
Waze is being probed by the NIA for his alleged role in the case related to the bomb scare outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran. After being suspended for 15 years for a custodial death case, Waze had rejoined the police force in 2020.
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