Aniksha in 5-day police custody; NCP, Cong give the issue a pass
The special ACB (anti-corruption bureau) court on Friday sent Aniksha Jaisinghani to five-day police custody, a day after she was arrested on charges of blackmailing, and trying to extort money from Amruta Fadnavis, wife of deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis
The special ACB (anti-corruption bureau) court on Friday sent Aniksha Jaisinghani to five-day police custody, a day after she was arrested on charges of blackmailing, and trying to extort money from Amruta Fadnavis, wife of deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
On Friday, it was business as usual in the house with both the Congress and the NCP - two partners in Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) – refraining from cornering the deputy CM over the controversy.
A Shiv Sena (UBT) leader said group leaders from the parties have been requested not to stretch the issue since it is under investigation. “Besides, Fadnavis’s warning that the police would probe if there was any politician behind the attempt to blackmail his wife has also worked as a deterrent.”
“It is strange that not even the house of deputy chief minister is protected,” said Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole. He, however, added, “Even when Amruta Fadnavis had made objectionable remarks on me in the past, I did not say anything.”
Even Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut, who was vocal on most issues, said, “We do not want to speak about anybody’s family, but by that logic they have no business to talk about MVA either.”
Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted, “It gets curiouser and curiouser. the accused has no fashion label, is no designer but is pursuing law. How was this basic check of her father her profession totally ignored and had all access pass to the de-facto CM’s house?”
In another tweet, she said, “Former home minister Anil Deshmukh had resigned on moral ground after inquiry was initiated against him. Now if there is probe in the context of wife of current home minister is on, then he should also so such morality.”
By Friday evening, the followers of BJP and Sena (UBT) were jousting on social media. While BJP supporters posted a picture of Uddhav Thackeray with bookie Anil Jaisinghani (Aniksha’s father) claiming that the latter had joined Sena (UBT), Sena (UBT) supporters uploaded a photo of Amruta Fadnavis with son of Samir Hingora, an accused in the 1993 bomb blasts case.
On Friday, chief public prosecutor Jaisingh Desai informed special judge Dipak Almale that Aniksha and her father, Anil Jaisinghani, had been booked under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. Aniksha, posing as a fashion designer, had befriended the complainant and later offered to pass on information about cricket bookies to her, saying they both could make money off it, Desai said.
After Amruta Fadnavis realised her true intentions and stopped communicating with her, the accused offered her a bribe of ₹1 crore to clear her father, an absconding bookie, of all charges. When the complainant refused, she started sending her screenshots of messages, the two had purportedly exchanged, including voice notes and videos, Desai said.
On February 20, Amruta Fadnavis filed a complaint at Malabar Hill police station. Two days later, Aniksha sent her a message, threatening to make the voice notes and video clips public if the latter did not pay her ₹10 crore and get her father cleared of all charges, he said.
Desai also informed the court that Anil Jaisinghani is wanted in 17 cases registered in five states - Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Assam, and Aniksha is also named in one of the cases in Goa. She had been in touch with her father, and “we want to arrest him as a court has declared him a proclaimed offender,” he said.
“It’s a conspiracy and through investigation needs to be carried out for which minimum seven days of police custody is required. We will have to find the bag (mentioned in one of the voice notes), take her handwriting samples as she had written a letter to Amruta Fadnavis in which she gave the offer about extorting money from bookies,” Desai said.
Appearing for Aniksha, advocate Milan Hebale contended that 13 of the 17 cases against her father had been closed by the police after submitting summary reports. Aniksha had been granted anticipatory bail in the Goa case, she added.
After hearing both sides, special judge Almale remanded Aniksha, 27, in police custody till March 21.
Aniksha was arrested on Thursday at her Ulhasnagar residence.