Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh received a major setback on Monday as the apex court refused to provide him interim protection from arrest in the alleged money laundering case against him. With this decision, Deshmukh, who has so far skipped appearing before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), is likely to face arrest in connection with the ongoing inquiry against him.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Krishna Murari and V Ramasubramanian said that the top court was ‘not inclined to grant any interim relief’ to Deshmukh and added that he could access remedies under the CrPC. Deshmukh’s lawyer argued that the alleged money laundering case against the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader was a political ‘witch-hunt’.
In view of the apex court decision on Monday, Deshmukh’s wait for rehabilitation gets longer. He remained unreachable for comment, while his party, the NCP, remained silent on the court decision.
Deshmukh had approached the apex court with a plea that the case against him be dropped. The former home minister had held.
The ED has already attached Deshmukh and his family’s assets worth Rs 4.20 crore after a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was issued against Deshmukh. The agency had also raided Deshmukh’s homes at Mumbai and Nagpur and the educational institute controlled by him at Nagpur.
The controversy came to the fore after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh levelled corruption charges against Deshmukh, which he denied. Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked former Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze to collect over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants across Mumbai.
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