Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested two aides of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh after the probe agency raided several premises in Mumbai and Nagpur, in connection with the alleged money laundering case against the politician related to a Rs 100 crore bribery charges, officials informed on Saturday.
Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde were arrested after about nine hours of questioning, under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Officials alleged that the two were not cooperating during the questioning that took place at the central probe agency’s office in Ballard Estate in Mumbai.
ED on Friday raided former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s premises in Mumbai and Nagpur, in connection with the alleged money laundering case.
ED raided 4 premises in Mumbai and Anil Deshmukh’s private residence in Nagpur. In Mumbai, the probe agency officials reached Dnyaneshwari Bungalow, Government Residence; Sukhda Tower, Worli Private Residence. They also raided the premises of Kundan Shinde and Sanjeev Palande, Deshmukh’s personal assistant and secretary.
Responding to the development, Anil Deshmukh once again questioned: “You know Param Bir Singh made false allegations against me after he was removed from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner because his role was very suspicious. Why didn’t he level allegations when he was still holding the post?”.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar alleged and hinted at central agencies being misused by “those who are in power”.
“Earlier some (Central) agencies had showered loving attention on the businesses of his son…. As far as I know, they did not find anything. So out of frustration, there is an attempt to see if he (Anil Deshmukh) can be harassed in any other way,” he said.
“All these things are not new to us. Anil Deshmukh is not the first (to face such action). A new trend of using power has been shown by those who are in power. There is no need to talk about that issue anymore. We are not at all worried about it,” Pawar told reporters.
Last month, 10 bar owners of Mumbai had talked about giving Rs 4 crore to Anil Deshmukh. The information related to the transactions reached ED.
In April, the CBI officials had conducted raids at four properties of Deshmukh in Maharashtra including his residence in Mumbai and other property in Nagpur, and seized electronic gadgets and incriminating documents.
Before that, the probe agency had carried out a preliminary inquiry against Deshmukh on the Bombay High Courts orders to look into the allegations levelled by the former Mumbai police commissioner.
Param Bir Singh had claimed that Anil Deshmukh asked police officers to collect money from restaurant and bar owners in Mumbai. In his letter, he had also mentioned that former assistant inspector Sachin Vaze and ACP Sanjay Patil were given a target to collect Rs 100 crores a month. These allegations were denied by the then-state home minister.
According to officials, the CBI got enough prima facie material during the inquiry to start a formal probe by registering a regular case against Deshmukh and other unidentified persons under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.