THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted searches at former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s residence in Nagpur in connection with its money laundering probe against him.
Sources said the ED has established a money trail of Rs 4 crore, allegedly paid by about 10 bar owners in Mumbai to Deshmukh over three months. Based on the new findings, the ED carried out searches at four locations, including Deshmukh’s residence, and the premises of his personal assistant Kundan Shinde and personal secretary Sanjeev Palande.
Later in the day, both Shinde and Palande were taken to the ED’s office at Ballard Estate in Mumbai for questioning.
The anti-money laundering agency has recorded the statements of over 10 bar owners in connection with the case.
On April 25, the ED had also searched the Nagpur residence of Sagar Bhatewar, a close aide of Deshmukh who is also a director of several firms controlled by Deshmukh’s family.
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 the now suspended Assistant Police Inspector 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 advantage 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.
Earlier, Waze had submitted a letter to the NIA court supporting Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh and also levelled corruption charges against Transport Minister Anil Parab of the Shiv Sena. Waze alleged that Deshmukh had asked him to pay Rs 2 crore for his reinstatement in the Mumbai Police. The court, however, has not taken the letter on record.
After being suspended for 15 years for a custodial death case, Waze had rejoined the police force in 2020.
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