The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday once again issued summons to former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and his son Hrishikesh to appear before it by August 3. Dismissing the former HM’s plea for protection from any coercive action by the ED, the agency asked the father-son duo to depose before the investigating officer of the case in a connection with a criminal case registered under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The 71-year-old NCP politician and his son, Hrishikesh Deshmukh, have been asked to depose before the investigating officer of the case on August 2 at the ED’s office in south Mumbai. This is the fourth summon to Anil Deshmukh.
The notice has been issued under provisions of the PMLA as the agency wants to further record his statement in this case, sources said.
Anil Deshmukh has skipped at least three summons of the federal probe agency in the past for questioning in the case. His son and wife too were summoned and they also did not appear.
He recently issued a video statement stating that he would appear before the ED “after” the apex court’s decision on his petition.
“I had received ED’s summons after which I filed a petition in the Supreme Court. I will go to the ED to record my statement after the SC’s decision on my petition,” Anil Deshmukh had said.
The summons were issued in connection with the criminal case registered under the PMLA related to an alleged Rs 100 crore bribery-cum-extortion racket in the Maharashtra police establishment that led to Anil Deshmukh’s resignation in April.
The agency had last month raided his premises in Mumbai and Nagpur apart from that of his aides and some others. It subsequently arrested two of his aides in this case, personal secretary Sanjeev Palande (51) and personal assistant Kundan Shinde (45).
The ED’s case against Anil 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 Param Bir Singh.
Early this month, the agency had also attached assets worth Rs 4.20 crore of Anil Deshmukh and his family.
The ED had claimed its probe found that “Deshmukh, while acting as home minister of Maharashtra, with dishonest intention has received illegal gratification of approximately Rs 4.70 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners, through (suspended) Sachin Waze, then the assistant police inspector of Mumbai Police.”
Anil Deshmukh has denied any wrongdoing in these instances and his lawyers have called the ED action against him unjustified.
He had said Param Bir Singh made the allegations against him after he was removed from the post of Mumbai police commissioner.
The ED had earlier claimed in court that Waze recorded his statement before the agency stating he “collected” Rs 4.70 crore cash from Mumbai bar owners and “handed it over” to Anil Deshmukh’s personal assistant (Shinde).
The police officer is lodged in the Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai in connection with a NIA case related to the recovery of a explosives laden SUV near the residence of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and a linked death of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
The ED said Waze also recorded his statement saying he attended a meeting at the official residence of the then home minister wherein he was given a list of bar and restaurant owners and asked “to collect Rs 3 lakh per month from each bar and restaurant” in Mumbai.
(With inputs from PTI)