Allegations of corruption against Anil Deshmukh: CBI raids 12 places in Maharashtra
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches in 12 places, including the residences of deputy commissioner of police Raju Bhujbal and assistant commissioner of police Sanjay Patil, at Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Ahmednagar, Sangli and Nashik on Wednesday.
CBI officials said searches were also conducted at other suspects’ residences and offices in connection with former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s allegation that the then home minister Anil Deshmukh wanted police to collect ₹100 crore from owners of Mumbai’s dance bars, bars and restaurants and hookah bars very month.
On March 20, three days after Singh was transferred from the Mumbai police commissioner’s post for allegedly mishandling the Antilia security threat case, he wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging that Deshmukh ran an extortion racket. Deshmukh resigned from the Cabinet on April 5 after the Bombay high court ordered CBI to conduct preliminary enquiry into the allegations and take further legal recourse, if the agency found substance in the allegations.
CBI, on April 21, registered an FIR against Deshmukh and others. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also initiated a probe into the money laundering aspect of the allegations and arrested Anil Deshmukh’s PA Kundan Shinde and PS Sanjeev Palande last month. It also summoned Deshmukh and his family members to join the investigation.
In April, CBI recorded the statements of over 20 people including Deshmukh, his two personal assistants, Palande and Shinde, Bhujbal, Patil, and Jaishri Patil – who petitioned the high court for an independent probe into the corruption allegations. The agency also recorded former police officer Sachin Vaze’s statement – when he was in the custody of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Antilia explosives case.
To corroborate the allegations made by Singh, CBI also recorded the statements of several bar and restaurant owners, including a Kandivali-based bar owner who was allegedly extorting money each month from other restaurant owners at the behest of Vaze.
Bhujbal and Patil’s statement were also recorded by joint commissioner of police Milind Bharambe and CBI claims that both had given the same statement but they were verifying their roles.
On July 18, ED raided Deshmukh’s houses in Wadvihira and Katol in Nagpur district in connection with the ₹100 crore extortion case. The agency, a few days ago, had provisionally attached the Nationalist Congress Party leader’s assets worth ₹4.20 crores in a money laundering case.
The agency then also issued summons to his wife Aarati Deshmukh for questioning.