Mumbai: As per recent development in an on-going probe against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in a money laundering case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has established the money trail of Rs 4 crore, which was allegedly paid by about 10 bar owners in Mumbai to the NCP leader for three months, as per sources.
In connection with the new findings, the federal agency is conducting searches at four locations, including the residence of Deshmukh in Nagpur. In Mumbai, the ED is also searching the premises of Deshmukh’s personal assistant Kundan Shinde and personal secretary Sanjeev Palande, based on the evidence gathered by probe agency on the alleged cash payments by the bar owners to Deshmukh.
The anti-money laundering agency has recorded the statements of over 10 bar owners in connection with the case.
The ED probe into the financial transactions of Deshmukh is in line with the CBI probe into allegations that the former minister had asked police officers, including the now-suspended assistant police inspector (API) Sachin Waze, to illegally collect Rs 100 crore including Rs 40-50 each month from 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Deshmukh has denied the allegations which were made on March 20 by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in an eight-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, sent out after he was shunted out from his position as the Mumbai police chief.
The ED registered a case against Deshmukh for allegedly obtaining illegal gratification, based on an FIR filed by the CBI in April. The CBI said Deshmukh used his official position to obtain certain undue advantage and had also influenced the transfers and postings in the Mumbai Police, as alleged by Singh.
Waze is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the Ambani house bomb scare case and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
Waze had earlier submitted a letter to the NIA court supporting the allegations made by Singh 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 a decade-and-a-half of being suspended in a case of custodial death, Waze had rejoined the police force in 2020.
Earlier on April 25, the ED had searched the Nagpur residence of Sagar Bhatewar, a close aide of Deshmukh, who is also a director on several firms controlled by the family of Deshmukh.