Updated: October 13, 2021 10:27:14 am
Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that he wanted to “dispel the impression that he was running away from the proceedings” initiated against him by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case and is willing to cooperate with the probe, provided it is undertaken with “objectivity.”
Deshmukh, while claiming that the probe is being conducted by certain officials with “arbitrariness” and “vendetta,” sought interim protection from coercive action, as he apprehended arrest under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
He further alleged that the central agency was making “selective disclosures” to media to portray him as a “bad person” before every court hearing, so as to create wrong public perception about him.
A division bench of Justice Nitin M Jamdar and Justice Sarang V Kotwal was hearing a plea filed by Deshmukh seeking quashing of summons issued by the ED, asking him to appear before it in connection with a money laundering and corruption case.
The ED has issued at least five summons to Deshmukh, asking him to appear before it. Deshmukh, however, has not complied with any of them.
The ED probe has claimed that Deshmukh, as home minister, had “received illegal gratification of approximately Rs 4.7 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners” between December 2020 and February 2021 through now dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze.
Senior counsel Vikram Chaudhri said the ED was trying to malign Deshmukh by “creating a facade and making hullabaloo” through “selective disclosure” of information through media before every court hearing so as to portray him in “bad light” by showing that he was running away from the probe. He added that the agency has been using its Twitter handle to disseminate “selective information.” However, he said that he was willing to cooperate with the probe.
“My client wants to dispel the impression that he is running away provided he is investigated by persons having no personal agenda. Action of the respondent agency fails to comply with fundamentals parameters of objectivity. Therefore, court’s interference is needed and Deshmukh must be protected from coercive action,” Chaudhri argued.
Due to paucity of time, the HC adjourned further hearing to Wednesday.
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