The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has recorded the statement of suspended Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in connection with its money laundering case against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.
On Friday, Singh was questioned for over five hours at the ED office in South Mumbai by a Deputy Director of the agency. His statement forms the core of the case registered against Deshmukh under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and questioning him was crucial, said a source. Singh had earlier been summoned thrice by the ED, but he failed to appear before it.
The Maharashtra government on Thursday suspended Singh and Deputy Commissioner of Police Parag Manere. Several FIRs have been registered against both on charges of extortion.
Singh, who alleged that Deshmukh collected protection money from bars in Mumbai, went on leave in May. He was untraceable till he turned up before the Crime Branch on November 25 following a Supreme Court order granting him protection from arrest till December 6.
Deshmukh is currently in judicial custody after his arrest by the ED on November 2 in the money laundering case.
The ED’s case against Deshmukh is based on an FIR filed by the CBI on April 21 following a preliminary enquiry into the allegations of corruption and bribery levelled against him in a letter sent by Singh to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Deshmukh resigned as home minister on April 5, hours after the Bombay High Court directed the CBI to carry out the enquiry.
According to the ED, Deshmukh “received illegal gratification of approximately Rs 4.7 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners” between December 2020 and February 2021, when he was home minister, through assistant police inspector Sachin Waze.
Waze was dismissed from service this year following his arrest in connection with the bomb scare case outside the residence of billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani.
The ED will now have to file a prosecution complaint against Deshmukh by January 1, 2022, in the absence of which the former minister can be granted bail by default.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines