Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) late on Friday night arrested former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh's personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The agency is investigating money laundering charges against Deshmukh. The agency sources also said that Deshmukh is likely to be summoned to visit the ED office on Saturday.
On Friday, ED had claimed that they have found a money trail of Rs 4 crore that was allegedly extorted from around a dozen bar owners by Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, (now dismissed from service) over a few months. The agency sources had alleged that the said money was then allegedly diverted to Deshmukh through some shell companies.
Following this revelation, the ED officials conducted searches at Deshmukh's residence in Nagpur and Mumbai and few other places on Friday.
The agency officials on Friday also made enquiries with Palande and Shinde to gather more information about the money trail.
Earlier this month the agency officials had conducted searches at the premises of Nagpur businessman and two chartered accountants in connection with the case.
On Thursday ED had recorded the statement of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Raju Bhujbal in the case, who is presently the in-charge of the enforcement wing of Mumbai Police and has the social service branch under his jurisdiction. The social service branch conducts checks and raids on pubs, hookah parlours, dance bars, bars, and restaurants.
Last month ED had recorded statement of advocate Jayshri Patil who had earlier filed a PIL in the High Court seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh. The Bombay High Court on April 5 had ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the allegations levelled against Deshmukh, and to submit a report within 15 days. On April 24, the CBI had registered an FIR against Deshmukh and others under corruption charges.
On May 11, ED had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) in Mumbai against Deshmukh based on the FIR filed by the CBI.
In March, former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, in his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, had alleged that, Home Minister Deshmukh had expressed to officer Sachin Vaze that he had a target to accumulate Rs 100 crores a month from bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.
Later Param Bir Singh had moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe, but the court had asked him to move the Bombay High Court. While the Bombay High Court dismissed Param Bir Singh’s petition, it took into consideration a PIL filed by advocate Jayshri Patil.
CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry the next day, and had recorded the statements of Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement) Raju Bhujbal, ACP Sanjay Patil and Vaze in connection with the allegations, Jayshri Patil.
The CBI had also recorded statements of Deshmukh, his two personal assistants, a Kandivali bar owner and two drivers of Vaze.