Maharashtra’s Ex-Home Minister Anil Deshmukh skips summons by probe agency

Maharashtra’s former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh skipped summons by probe agency Enforcement Directorate or ED for questioning today in a money laundering case related to an alleged multi-crore bribery-cum-extortion racket that led to his resignation in April, officials said. He sought more time, they added.

The 71-year-old Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader was asked to depose before the investigating officer of the case at the agency office in the Ballard Estate area in Mumbai at 11 am, they said. Mr Deshmukh however, skipped the summons of the probe agency. Anil Deshmukh’s lawyers filed an application seeking time for him to appear before the ED. The economic intelligence agency is considering the application and give a fresh date, officials said. The central probe agency arrested his personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde late Friday night after it had carried out raids against them and Anil Deshmukh in Mumbai and Nagpur. The aides were brought to the ED office for questioning following the searches. Both have been arrested after around nine hours of questioning, under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Both Palande and Shinde will be produced in a special PMLA court on Saturday in Mumbai where the probe agency will seek their remand for custodial interrogation, officials said. The ED case against Anil Deshmukh and others was made out after the CBI first carried out a preliminary inquiry followed by a regular case being filed on the orders of the Bombay High Court. The court had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI to look into the allegations of bribery made against Mr Deshmukh by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Anil Deshmukh, who had resigned from his post in April following the allegations, has denied any wrongdoing.