Maharashtra: Anil Deshmukh sent to ED custody till November 6
Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has been sent to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till November 6 in connection with a money laundering case. This came after Deshmukh was arrested by the ED Monday night after a 12-hour-long questioning at its Ballard Estate office. The ED is probing a case registered against Deshmukh for his alleged involvement in corruption and extortion.
Why does this story matter?
Deshmukh's arrest came after the ED had registered a case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) almost six months ago. The probing agency registered the case after Mumbai's ex-top cop Param Bir Singh alleged that Deshmukh had obtained "illegal gratification" from bar owners when he was the Maharashtra Home Minister. Deshmukh has rubbished the allegations as a conspiracy.
Deshmukh produced before court today
Deshmukh was produced before a special holiday PMLA court on Tuesday noon. Assistant Solicitor General Anil Singh had sought 14-day custody. However, the court granted the ED custody till Saturday. Meanwhile, the court also granted Deshmukh's plea for home food and medicine during his custody. The court has also reportedly allowed the presence of his lawyer during the interrogation by the agency.
HC had rejected Deshmukh's plea
Deshmukh reportedly appeared before the ED to record his statement on Monday noon after the Bombay High Court rejected his plea to cancel the summons by the probing agency in the money laundering case. The ED's additional director arrived from Delhi in the evening to supervise the process. Notably, Deshmukh had been evading questioning for months and had exhausted all legal remedies.
Deshmukh's associates were arrested earlier
Earlier, the ED had arrested Deshmukh's private secretary and personal assistant for allegedly helping him and his son with money laundering. The agency had also attached the Deshmukh family's assets worth over Rs. 4 crore in the case. It had alleged that Deshmukh received "illegal gratification of approximately Rs. 4.70 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners" as Maharashtra Home Minister.
Deshmukh denies allegations
Deshmukh was first accused of corruption and extortion by Mumbai's ex-top cop Param Bir Singh. In a video message on Monday, Deshmukh claimed all allegations against him were false. "Today, I have presented myself before the ED. Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh made false allegations against me. Where is he today? As per media reports, he has left the country," Deshmukh said.
Former top cop's claims launched case
The ED's probe is linked to former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh's allegations that Deshmukh had asked cops to extort Rs. 100 crore every month from bars and restaurants. Following this, petitions were filed in the Bombay High Court seeking a case against Deshmukh. This had also resulted in Deshmukh's resignation as Maharashtra Home Minister in April.
ED, CBI later registered cases
After the Bombay High Court directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry in the matter, the agency formally registered a case against Deshmukh in April. Later, the ED registered a case against him and conducted searches on properties owned by him at various locations.