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Ex-Home Minister Anil Deshmukh gets 14-day judicial custody after ED plea rejected

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Mumbai: A special holiday court on Saturday sent former state home minister Anil Deshmukh (72) to judicial custody for 14 days after it rejected the Enforcement Directorate’s plea for nine additional days of his arrest in a money laundering case. Seeking further custody, the ED said in its plea that there are 27 companies that are directly or indirectly controlled by Deshmukh’s family members and have been utilized for infusion of ill-gotten money.

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It also said money has flown from personal accounts of his son Hrishikesh and Salil Deshmukh and other family members to these companies.

“Even the accused Anil Deshmukh had transacted with some of the said companies and is not able to explain the reason for that clearly indicates intention behind his denial…,” the ED said.

The ED submitted he was evasive and gave vague answers during his questioning over the past four days he was in their custody. Deshmukh told the ED the money his trust received from a Delhi-based hawala operator was a loan.

“On asking Anil Deshmukh about his association with the trust, namely Sai Shikshan Sansthan, he said though he is its chairman, he is not aware of any financial transaction of the trust. However, on asking specifically about transferred entries received from Delhi-based hawala companies in the garb of donation, he categorically stated these are loans and CSR received from the said companies. This shows his day-to-day association and involvement in the functioning of Sai Shikshan Sansthan,” the ED said in its remand plea submitted and argued by additional solicitor general Anil Singh.

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The ED had stated Deshmukh by virtue of his earlier position as state home minister received around Rs 4.7 crore, collected from orchestra bar owners and managers for smooth functioning of bars during the pandemic. Deshmukh’s CA, Sudhir Baheti, had told the ED he had introduced Delhi-based hawala operators to his son Hrishikesh. A total of Rs 4.18 crore, in various tranches, was received by the trust from the paper companies of the hawala operators in the garb of donation, the ED said.

Deshmukh’s lawyers Vikram Chaudhri and Aniket Nikam argued the grounds cited by the ED were the same as they had submitted before the first remand hearing on Tuesday. Deshmukh was sent to ED’s custody till Saturday. He is likely to seek bail soon.

Meanwhile, the probing central agency is to confront dismissed cop Sachin Waze with the evidence collected during Deshmukh’s interrogation.

The ED said it had summoned a private person who handed over the list of bar and orchestra owners to Waze on Deshmukh’s instructions. It said it has moved a plea seeking to question Waze.

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