Mumbai: A Mumbai court on Tuesday remanded former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody till November 6 in connection with a multi-crore money laundering case.
Deshmukh, arrested by by ED late Monday night after over 12 hours of questioning in the money laundering case linked to an alleged extortion racket in the state police establishment, was produced for remand before additional sessions judge P B Jadhav, who presided over the special holiday court, a little after noon.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the ED, sought 14-day custody of the NCP leader, stating that the custodial interrogation was required to carry out further probe into the case and to check the money trail.
Deshmukh’s counsel Vikram Chaudhri and advocate Aniket Nikam, however, opposed it and argued that the ED had no locus to investigate. The Bombay High Court had only directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the allegations against Deshmukh. No one asked the ED to investigate, Chaudhri told the court.
He further informed the court that Deshmukh (71) is a senior citizen whose shoulder is dislocated and hence, he needs constant support.
He suffered from COVID-19 this February and is suffering from heart ailments and hypertension, Chaudhri said.
Before producing him in the court, the prosecuting agency had taken the NCP leader to the state-run J J Hospital for a regular medical checkup.
After the ED arrested Deshmukh on Monday night under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the agency officials had claimed the senior NCP leader was evasive during questioning.
The ED had initiated a probe against Deshmukh and his associates after the CBI filed its FIR against the NCP leader on April 21 on charges of corruption and misuse of official position.
The ED’s case is that Deshmukh, while serving as home minister, misused his official position and through dismissed cop Sachin Waze collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
The money was allegedly laundered to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha, an education trust controlled by Deshmukh’s family.
Deshmukh had refuted these allegations earlier and said the agency’s whole case was based on malicious statements made by a tainted cop (Waze).
The ED has so far arrested two persons in the case Sanjeev Palande (additional collector-rank official who was working as Deshmukh’s private secretary) and Kundan Shinde (Deshmukh’s personal assistant).
The agency last month submitted its prosecution complaint (equivalent to a charge sheet) against the duo before a special court.
The ED case against Deshmukh and others was made out after the CBI booked him in a corruption case related to allegations of at least Rs 100 crore bribery made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Singh.
In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after he was removed from the police commissioner’s post, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh asked Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Deshmukh, while denying any wrongdoing, had maintained that Singh made the allegations against him after he was removed from the post of Mumbai Police chief.