Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has been sent to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till 6 November in the case of money laundering that has been in news since March. Anil Deshmukh has requested the presence of his lawyer during interrogation by the ED in its custody.
Before Anil Deshmukh’s arrest, the former Maharashtra home minister was confronted with alleged evidence gathered by the agency, including statements of other accused and witnesses in the case.
The ED is carrying out an investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the alleged Rs 100 crore extortion racket.
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had accused Anil Deshmukh of asking dismissed assistant inspector Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore from hotels and bars in Mumbai every month, a charge which the then state home minister had consistently denied.
The entire controversy took place after an explosive-laden vehicle was discovered on 25 February this year outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai. During the investigation, the NIA (National Investigation Agency) found the involvement of Sachin Vaze and later the Maharashtra Government removed Parambir Singh from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner.
The ED during its investigation allegedly found that as head of the Crime Intelligence Unit of Mumbai Police, Sachin Vaze collected Rs 4.70 crore from orchestra bars of Mumbai between December 2020 and February 2021, which was later handed over to Anil Deshmukh through his assistant.
Deshmukh had skipped at least four summons issued by the ED in the money laundering case. However, the Bombay High Court last week refused to quash these summons.
Earlier, Anil Deshmukh, in an open letter, said that the allegation that he was not cooperating with central agencies was false.
In fact, the disgraced politician was in news for wrong reasons even before March when in April 2020 he published a list of mob-lynchers who had killed two sadhus and their driver in Palghar and claimed none of them was a non-Hindu whereas most in the list were suspected to be crypto-converts.
Ironically, his bugbear Param Bir Singh is no saint either. He is accused of botching up the investigation into the mysterious death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.