Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh arrested in an extortion and money laundering case
Anil Deshmukh had gone to the ED office for a multi-agency investigation levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
After interviewing him for more than 13 hours, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) detained former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in an alleged money-laundering case. On Monday afternoon, Deshmukh, 72, went to the ED headquarters for an investigation into accusations of Rs 100 crore extortion levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.an
Deshmukh, a top Nationalist Congress Party official, had stated that he was willing to appear before the ED since he respected the law, and the arrest followed suit.
The former Maharashtra Home Minister had gone to the ED office for a multi-agency investigation into extortion and corruption allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The news came a day after the CBI apprehended Santosh Jagtap, a middleman from Thane who was allegedly a conduit in the corruption dealings and had eluded arrest.
"I respect the courts... I have voluntarily decided to come to the ED for the probe. But I want to ask where is Param Bir Singh who levelled the false allegations against me," Before going to the central agency with his counsel, Deshmukh remarked in a recorded statement.
Whenever he had received an ED summons in the past - at least five - he had swiftly responded, stating that his matter was pending in the courts concerned, he added. He has instantly responded to both CBI letters, claiming the same reasons and stating that his case is still ongoing before the Supreme Court.
"Despite all this, the ED-CBI have raided all my homes (Mumbai-Nagpur), my family members, my associates... Canards were also being spread that I am absconding for the ED, but I have come here today on my own," Deshmukh said, in an indirect swipe at the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
He said that Singh, the individual who levelled the false claims against him, is "untraceable" and has reportedly fled the country, according to media sources.
Deshmukh, a top NCP official, was dogged by controversy in April 2020, following Singh's letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray saying that he (Deshmukh) had set a Rs 100-crore collection target for former police officer Sachin Vaze.
Deshmukh had sought relief from the Bombay High Court, but was denied, and his case is now pending before the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the agencies have called Deshmukh's wife Aarti and their son Hrishikesh for questioning, and the ED has seized portions of his property worth Rs 4.20 crore.
Sanjeev Palande and Kundan Shinde, Deshmukh's former close aides, were detained by the ED, followed by Jagtap's detention by the CBI, amid rumours that the ex-Minister would be arrested.
Chandrakant Patil, the BJP state president, praised the move, adding that "actually, Deshmukh had no options left" than to appear before the ED because he realised the long arms of the law will eventually catch up with him.