Former Home minister Anil Deshmukh, who has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged money laundering case, has informed the Bombay High Court that he is not opposing the proceedings and is willing to assist the investigating agency in its probe. However, he said that he has not been provided with the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) copy, equivalent to an FIR.
On Thursday, a division bench of justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal was hearing a petition filed by the NCP leader, challenging the summons issued by the ED. So far, The ED has issued five summons, which he has reportedly skipped. Deshmukh’s lawyers, senior counsel Vikram Chaudhri and advocate Aniket Nikam, argued that they are willing to assist with the probe. “I (Deshmukh) am not here for opposing proceedings. I want to assist the probe,” argued Chaudhri. Deshmukh’s plea stated that he be exempted from personal appearance and his statement must be recorded through video conferencing.
Chaudhri further argued that initially, ED had given an option to Deshmukh to either appear in person or appear through an authorised representative. “I (Deshmukh) appeared through my authorised representative, my lawyer. I had sent a letter also saying that I am sending my representative as I am a septuagenarian and suffering from age-related ailments.”
The ED asked Deshmukh to produce certain documents related to the ECIR. “However, the investigating agency has neither given a copy of the ECIR nor the list of documents. I have repeatedly asked for the ECIR copy, which hasn’t been given yet,” said Chaudhri.
“The manner in which the summons are issued, the apprehension is that things are not well,” he said. He pointed out that two people associated with Deshmukh i.e his lawyer Anand Daga and a CBI officer Abhishek Tiwari were summoned by the ED for recording statements and they were later arrested the same day.
Additional Solicitor Generals Aman Lekhi and Anil Singh opposed the plea saying that the NCP leader has not appeared even once despite repeated summons.