Former home minister Anil Deshmukh has approached the Bombay High Court challenging the summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged money laundering case saying that the case should be probed by Special Investigation Team (SIT) having ED officers from outside Mumbai.
Justice Revati Dere refused to hear Deshmukh’s plea saying: “Not before me.” The case will now be heard by another judge.
ED has so far issued five summons to the former minister asking him to record his statement in connection with the money laundering case probed by the agency. Deshmukh has skipped all the summons.
Apart from seeking quashing of the summons, Deshmukh has sought that the probe be conducted by a SIT comprising ED officers outside the Mumbai Zone office and to monitor/supervise investigation. “Entrust the investigation to an SIT comprising ED officers outside the Mumbai Zone office and to monitor/supervise investigations in terms of the ratio laid down by the SC in Babubhai Jamuna Das Patel's case,” reads the plea.
Besides, Deshmukh has sought he be allowed to appear for questioning before the ED through video conference. He has also sought that he be permitted to submit documents through electronic mode and even attendance be allowed through authorised agent.
While skipping the summons, Deshmukh had claimed in his letter to the ED that to date, the investigating agency has not furnished him a copy of Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) or the list of documents pertaining to the case which he had sought for.
ED had initiated the probe against Deshmukh and his associates after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR following a Court-directed enquiry into allegations of corruption and misuse of his official position.
ED had initiated money-laundering investigation on May 11, on the basis of an FIR under Section 120-B of IPC, 1860 and section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 registered by CBI against Deshmukh and others for allegedly attempting to obtain undue advantage for the improper and dishonest performance of their public duty for collection of funds to achieve the target of Rs 100 crore per month from various bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.
According to ED, Deshmukh, when he was the Home Minister of Maharashtra, misused his position by directing dismissed Mumbai cop Sachin Waze to collect money to the tune of ₹4.7 crore from various restaurants and bars in Mumbai.
It was claimed that Deshmukh had laundered the extorted money to a Nagpur-based trust which was controlled by his family members.
The former minister had first approached the Supreme Court challenging the ED summons. However, the apex court directed him to avail alternative remedies available, after which Deshmukh approached the High Court.
Deshmukh’s advocates Aniket Nikam and Inderpal Singh said that the matter will come up for hearing before appropriate judge in due course of time.
On June 25, ED had arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Palande has also approached the HC challenging the case registered against him.
On Thursday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Deshmukh's lawyer Advocate Anand Daga.