The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday filed their first charge-sheet before the court against two staffers of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, in connection with a money laundering case probed by the agency. Deshmukh's personal assistant Kundan Shinde and personal secretary Sanjeev Palande were arrested by the ED in June for their alleged role in the laundering of money on Deshmukh’s directions.
According to the ED sources, the officials have submitted details of the money that had been allegedly laundered through various shell companies in the chargesheet. The agency had earlier claimed that Palande and Shinde were coordinating with now dismissed assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze and some other police officers to collect money illegally from bar owners. Both Palande and Shinde are currently in jail.
"Investigation under PMLA revealed that Anil Deshmukh, while acting as Home Minister of State of Maharashtra, with dishonest intention has received illegal gratification of approximately Rs 4.70 crore in cash from various orchestra bar owners, through Sachin Vaze, then Assistant Police Inspector of Mumbai Police. Further, with the help of Delhi-based dummy companies, Deshmukh family laundered the tainted money of Rs 4.18 crore and projected it as untainted by showing the same as amount received in the Trust namely Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha," ED had claimed.
ED had issued fifth summons to Deshmukh and Hrishikesh on August 17, a day after the SC had told Deshmukh to go to appropriate court for seeking interim relief from any coercive action by the ED. Deshmukh had skipped all five summons issued by the ED and had submitted a communication to the agency through his legal representative on August 02, stating that investigations being carried out by the ED were neither fair, nor just impartial. In his communication, Deshmukh had earlier in a video statement had also stated that he would appear before the ED to record his statement after the Supreme Court's decision over his petition.
In his latest letter submitted to ED on August 18, Deshmukh had informed the agency that till the time appropriate orders are passed by the courts where he seeks lawful remedies, his statement may be recorded through any electronic medium of the agency's choice. On July 18, the ED had carried out searches at Deshmukh’s house in Katol, near Nagpur, and his ancestral home at Wadvihira village, near Katol.
The next day, Deshmukh had issued a video statement and had informed that once the outcome of his petition in the apex court comes, he would visit the ED and get his statement recorded. Last month, the ED had also provisionally attached assets worth Rs 4.20 crore of Deshmukh and his family held in the name of his wife Aarti Deshmukh and company Premier Port Links Private Limited under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The attached assets were in the form of one residential flat valued at Rs 1.54 crore, located in Worli and 25 land parcels of book value Rs 2.67 crore, located at Dhutum villages in Uran, Raigad district. The ED had initiated money-laundering investigation on May 11 on the basis of an FIR, under Section 120-B of the IPC and Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 registered by CBI against Deshmukh and others for allegedly attempting to obtain undue advantage for 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.
On June 25, the ED had arrested Palande and Shinde under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
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