Former Maharashtra Home Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday after an interrogation that lasted more than 11 hours last night.
The case was brought to light after an explosive-laden vehicle was found outside the house of Reliance supremo Mukesh Ambani. During the investigation, the NIA (National Investigation Agency) found the involvement of Sachin Vaze an Assistant Police Inspector, post which the Maharashtra government removed erstwhile Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh from his post.
Further in March in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister, Singh accused Deshmukh of ‘fraud’ and alleged that the NCP leader had asked Sachin Vaze to obtain at least Rs.100 crores a month from bars, restaurants, and other similar facilities in Mumbai. After the Bombay High Court ordered the CBI to conduct an initial investigation into the claims made, Deshmukh resigned as Home Minister and was replaced by Dilip Walse Patil.
The FIR was registered under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120 B of the IPC. Thereafter, Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) was filed against Anil Deshmukh on May 11 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED issued summons to Deshmukh 5 times from June to August where he did not turn up.
In August, ED filed a charge sheet which included Sachin Vaze’s statement where he claimed that he was also approached by Shiv Sena Leader Anil Parab and another person who was supposedly a close aide of Maharashtra’s Deputy CM Ajit Pawar to collect bribes in one form or the other.
In September, Deshmukh moved to Bombay High Court, seeking the withdrawal of summons issued against by ED. However, on 29th October the court rejected the appeal filed by Deshmukh who thus had to appear before the Enforcement Directorate yesterday.
In a statement issued on his ED appearance, Anil Deshmukh stated, “Whenever ED sent me a summon, I informed them that my petition is pending before the High Court, I have filed a petition before the Supreme Court and I will myself appear before the ED after the verdict. When ED raided my houses, my family and my associates extended full cooperation. I have given my statement twice to the CBI after receiving the summons. Even now, my case is pending before the Supreme Court. But today, I have appeared before the ED.
As for the two policemen involved, he further added, “I feel very sad at my inquiry and the harassment caused to my family based on the allegations of Sachin Vaze and Param Bir Singh.”
Supporting Deshmukh who has reiterated the probe to be politically motivated, NCP leader Nawab Malik, who recently rose to fame with his opinions contrary to that of law and order agencies expressed displeasure. As per him, Param Bir Singh who leveled allegations is absconding and that the Centre has to bear responsibility for Singh evading the law by fleeing the county and that too when a lookout notice had been issued against him.