ED issues fresh summon to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh
Hours after the Supreme Court refused to grant any relief to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh in the money laundering case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday issued fresh summons to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and his son Hrishikesh.
The agency has asked them to visit its office in south Mumbai at 11am on Monday.
ED had earlier issued three summons to Deshmukh but he had not appeared before the agency and had sent his lawyer instead. Hrishikesh was sent summons twice previously.
The money laundering case against Deshmukh was registered after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a first information report (FIR) against him on April 21. Deshmukh had in the past said that the allegations against him are false.
The central agency has alleged that while serving as the Maharashtra home minister, Deshmukh misused his position, and through assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze – who has now been dismissed and is in Taloja jail for his alleged role in the Antilia explosives scare and Mansukh Hiran murder cases – collected ₹4.7 crore from Mumbai’s bars for their “smooth functioning”.
Later, through hawala channels, this money was sent to two brothers in Delhi who operated bogus companies, said the agency. It claimed that at Hrishikesh’s behest, the two brothers diverted the money as donations to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by the Deshmukhs.
ED has also claimed that while collecting money from the bar owners, Vaze told them that a part of the amount was to go to an entity – ‘No 1’ – as well as the crime and social service branches of Mumbai Police.
The anti-money laundering agency has also said that Vaze’s in his statement to ED said that he was called to Deshmukh’s official residence and directed to collect ₹3 lakh from every bar and restaurant in the city. He was also given a list of the establishments.
During investigation, ED has identified 24 private entities that are controlled by the Deshmukh family and found that huge sums of money had been transacted among them without any rationale.
“From the analysis of the bank accounts of these companies, it is clear that there is no rationale for the transfers, and thus it can be said that these series of transactions were meant for inflating balance sheets and layering of money from one company to other,” ED had stated.
The agency then arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and assistant Kundan Shinde on June 26, claiming that they had handled the money laundering linked to the extortions for Deshmukh.
In mid-July, the anti-money laundering agency provisionally attached Deshmukh’s properties, worth ₹4.2 crore. The attached assets include a residential flat in Worli valued at ₹1.54 crore and 25 land parcels of book value ₹2.67 crore at Dhutum village at Uran in the neighbouring Raigad district.
ED said its investigation has revealed that the Worli flat was purchased by the NCP leader in 2004 by making cash payment entirely by cash. It was registered in the name of Deshmukh’s wife Aarti, but the sale deed for the flat was registered in February 2020 after he became the home minister.
The other seized properties too are held in Aarti’s name as well as in the name of company, Premier Port Links Pvt Ltd. According to ED officers, the Deshmukhs acquired 50% ownership in M/s Premier Port Links Pvt Ltd including its assets (land and shops), totally valued around ₹5.34 crore (book value) by merely paying ₹17.95 lakh, that too after a substantial gap.”
Deshmukh had said that the allegations against him, made by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh, cropped up only after the cop was shunted out as the commissioner over his poor handling of the Antilia and the Hiran murder cases.