A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, on Thursday, permitted the plea of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to record the statement of dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze in the money laundering case against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.
The court allowed the agency to visit him in Taloja jail for three days. In a statement to the ED on 19 May, Vaze said that he had collected Rs 4.70 crore from bars across the city between December last year and February on the instructions of Deshmukh. This amount was handed over to the then minister’s personal assistant Kundan Shinde in two installments. The money was collected on Deshmukh’s behalf. The agency had told another special court earlier that Shinde, who is also arrested in the case, had been giving evasive responses during questioning and had even denied knowing Vaze.
The agency had recently arrested the personal secretary of NCP leader Sanjeev Palande in the money laundering case and claimed that both had been directly involved in the crime. The minister, himself, is yet to appear before the agency, though it has issued him three summons so far. He had instead approached the Supreme Court to grant protection from any coercive action against him and asked the ED to wait for the decision on his plea.
Vaze is in judicial custody in the controversial security scare outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s home, Antilla, in February and the subsequent death of businessman Mansukh Hiran.