The Enforcement Directorate will today seek extended custody of former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh, who was arrested by the agency earlier this week over a money laundering case.
The agency’s earlier custody of Mr Deshmukh ends today. He was taken for a routine medical check-up this morning before being presented in a PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court.
Sources within the central agency have said Mr Deshmukh, 71, is not co-operating with the investigation. The sources have also said the minister and his family used 27 companies to launder tainted money, and that the agency needed more time to confront him with the evidence.
Mr Deshmukh’s son, Hrishikesh, was summoned yesterday in connection with the case but he skipped the call by the agency. Fresh summons will be issued on Monday, sources added.
Anil Deshmukh, the ex-Maharashtra Home Minister, is accused of corruption and extortion by former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh, who is missing. The senior police officer faces similar allegations and cases filed by both Mumbai Police and the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Mr Deshmukh quit earlier this year, and he was arrested Tuesday after being questioned for over 12 hours – he skipped earlier summons – at the Enforcement Directorate’s Mumbai office.
His arrest has been slammed by NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik, who called it “politically motivated”.
“It is aimed at scaring leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (the ruling alliance),” he said this week.
Mr Deshmukh was also refused relief by the Bombay High Court after appealing for his summons to be cancelled. The senior NCP leader this week said all allegations against him are “false”.
The charges against Mr Deshmukh stem from a letter by Param Bir Singh to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in which he is accused of using the police to extort up to Rs 100 crore from Mumbai bars and restaurants every month.
The letter triggered a vicious spat between the state government and the opposition BJP.
The Enforcement Directorate took cognisance of the allegations after a FIR was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation based on Mr Singh’s allegations.
The letter was written days after Mr Singh was removed from his post over slow progress of investigations into the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare. Mr Deshmukh – who oversaw the state’s police force in his role as Home Minister – said “unforgivable” lapses in the investigation had been revealed.
Mr Deshmukh has rubbished the allegations and threatened a defamation case.
Param Bir Singh was transferred in March after the arrest of Sachin Waze – a police officer later sacked and arrested in the Ambani bomb scare case and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
He faces five police cases in Maharashtra and two others by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
A look-out circular has been issued against him.
Mr Deshmukh has slammed Mr Singh, asking: “Where is (he)… who made allegations against me? Today officers of his own department and several businessmen have filed complaints against him.”