The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Sunday recorded statement of dismissed assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze in connection with the money laundering case against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. This is third time agency has recorded statement of Vaze in the case.
Last month, the ED had searched the premises of Deshmukh and people linked to him in Nagpur and Mumbai. The officials had also arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde, for their alleged involvement in the money laundering case.
The ED had also summoned Deshmukh thrice, but the former minister did not turn up at the ED office and through his lawyers, had communicated to the agency that he should be provided with a copy of the ECIR of case and related documents and that he was available for any audio-visual communication with the agency. On Sunday, Deshmukh had moved the Supreme Court, seeking protection from any coercive action by the ED in this money laundering case.
In March this year, in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after he was removed from the police commissioner’s post, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze (now dismissed) to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Following the court’s order, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had initiated an enquiry into the matter and had recorded statements of Deshmukh, Singh, Vaze, Palande, Shinde and some bar owners and registered an FIR against Deshmukh on charges of corruption on April 24. The ED then registered a case of money laundering against Deshmukh on the basis of CBI’s FIR on May 11.
The ED has questioned Vaze in this case twice at the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.
Vaze is in jail after he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a case related to the parking of a gelatin sticks-laden SUV near the residence of the Ambanis and the murder case of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
He had also told the ED about attending a meeting at the official residence of the then Home Minister Deshmukh, wherein he was given a list of bar and restaurant owners and asked to “collect Rs 3 lakh per month” from each of these businesses in Mumbai.