The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh to appear for questioning. According to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they also arrested Kundan Shinde, the deputy to Alok Patil, and Sanjeev Palande, his personal secretary, on Friday night. Palande and Shinde will appear in a special PMLA court on Saturday.
An ED team reached Deshmukh’s Nagpur home, his Mumbai homes in Worli and Malabar Hill, and Shinde and Palande’s residences on Friday morning. During raid at their homes, both Palande and Shinde were brought to the ED office in south Mumbai. Sources revealed that the ED has found a money trail of Rs.4 crore collected from around 12 bar owners by former assistant inspector Sachin Vaze over a few months.
The money was allegedly diverted to Deshmukh through shell companies based outside Maharashtra. A close relative of Deshmukh owns the companies. Sources cite this evidence as sufficient to arrest Deshmukh. Sanjeev Palande, Deshmukh’s personal secretary, is said to be a key witness in the case and has knowledge of the alleged extortion and diversion of funds.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh had claimed in a letter to Uddhav Thackeray in March that Deshmukh had asked Sachin Vaze to extort around Rs 100 crores a month after he had been expelled from the Mumbai police. According to Singh’s letter, the majority of this amount was to be collected from bars and restaurants.
The allegations led to a variety of petitions seeking an investigation. According to the Bombay High Court, the CBI conducted a preliminary inquiry and registered an FIR against Deshmukh. Searches were conducted at Deshmukh’s home, office, and places of business of close associates of his. The CBI also recorded statements from various individuals, including Deshmukh. As a result of the allegations leveled by Singh, Anil Deshmukh resigned from his position in April. Despite this, he maintains that he did nothing wrong. The ED registered an investigation into money laundering after that. Various witnesses have provided statements to the ED in connection with the case.
The ED questioned and recorded the statement of Raju Bhujbal, deputy commissioner of police. The Mumbai police officer is currently in charge of the enforcement wing, which includes the social service branch. The social service department checks and raids pubs, hookah parlors, dance bars, and restaurants. According to sources, a few other policemen have also been questioned by ED.