In no relief to former home minister of Maharashtra, Anil Deshmukh, the Bombay High Court on Friday rejected his plea to quash the summons issued against him by the Enforcement Directorate. A Division Bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and S.V. Kotwal granted him liberty to move the appropriate court under Section 438 (direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The ED is investigating a money laundering case against Mr. Deshmukh.
The bench added, “To conclude, the applicant (Mr. Deshmukh) has failed to make out a case under Section 482 (saving of inherent powers of high court) CrPC and for no coercive action against the applicant. Like any other person apprehending arrest, he shall approach the competent court under section 438 of CrPC,” the HC held.
The case dates back to April 5, when a division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice GS Kulkarni had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct an inquiry into allegations of corruption and money laundering against the former minister. He stepped down the same day.
On April 21, CBI registered a FIR against Mr. Deshmukh under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Soon thereafter, ED stepped in and issued five summons against the Nationalist Congress Party leader to appear for questioning. However, Mr. Deshmukh did not appear before the central agency and dogged by it saying he would be seeking appropriate remedy under the law.
It all started in March 2020 when the former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh wrote a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging instances of corruption against Mr. Deshmukh.
As per ED’s probe 11 companies were directly controlled by family members of Mr. Deshmukh and another 13 companies came to light which are in the names of close associates of Deshmukh family. Bank account statements show that money is flowing from companies indirectly controlled by Mr. Deshmukh’s family members to companies directly controlled by his family members.
There are statements of bar owners and managers that reveal that dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze currently lodged at Taloja Central Jail collected money from them and Mr. Vaze in his statement said he was getting direct instructions from Mr. Deshmukh to do so. Mr. Vaze has alleged that he was told to collect Rs 3 lakh per month from various bars and restaurants and that he handed over Rs 4.70 crores from December 2020 to February 2021 to Kundan Shinde (personal assistant) on behalf of Mr. Deshmukh.