ED’s intentions behind summons questionable: Anil Deshmukh to Bombay high court
The Bombay high court (HC), while hearing the petition filed by former home minister Anil Deshmukh seeking quashing of the proceedings arising out of the summons being issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was informed on Thursday that the actions of the ED created apprehension in his mind on their intentions, as they neither provided him with the list of documents they sought from him nor waited for the outcome of the petition filed by him before the Supreme Court while issuing a third summon on August 2.
Deshmukh’s counsel argued that as the central agency refused to share the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) or the list of documents they wanted from him showed that they wanted to play the game of ‘Heads I Win, Tails you Lose’ which was prejudicial to his interests and hence sought to quash of the proceedings arising out of the summons.
The ED has filed an ECIR against Deshmukh in connection with the April 21 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) first information report (FIR) which has accused Deshmukh of being involved in corruption and money laundering. The ED has been issuing summons to Deshmukh since June 25.
The division bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and justice Sarang Kotwal while hearing the petition was informed by additional solicitor general Aman Lekhi for the ED that the petition was not maintainable as Deshmukh had sought similar reliefs in his petition in the Supreme Court.
However, senior advocate Vikram Choudhary for Deshmukh submitted that the petition could be heard and decided by the HC. The court accepted the same but asked Choudhary to stick to the merits of the matter only.
While making submissions, Choudhary informed the bench that the ED had conducted a raid at his client’s house and he had cooperated and his statement was also recorded thereafter by the ED officials. After that ED had issued him a summons and asked him to appear at the ED office to which he responded and had said that an authorised representative would appear which was accepted.
Choudhary submitted that after the authorised representative had appeared, the ED issued him a second summon, to which he sought a list of documents required from him and also requested a video conferencing appearance. Deshmukh also informed the ED officers that he was approaching the SC. After hearing the petition SC had said it would pass orders on August 3, however, ED issued a third summons on August 2 without responding to Deshmukh’s request and only asked him to appear before it.
Choudhary submitted that this created apprehension in Deshmukh’s mind as the ED had similarly called two persons attached to him and when they had reached the ED office they were arrested. Choudhary argued that ED was playing the ‘Heads I win, Tails you Lose’ game with Deshmukh and hence he was seeking quashing of the proceedings arising out of the summons.
Choudhary, however, reiterated that his client was willing to cooperate with the agency but was apprehensive of their intentions, hence sought interim protection.
Lekhi, however, interjected and submitted that Deshmukh could not dictate the way in which the agency carried out its investigation by asking for appearance through video conference.
Due to paucity of time, the bench adjourned the hearing to Friday.