High court rejects Anil Deshmukh’s plea to cancel ED summons, bar his arrest
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday rejected former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh’s petition to cancel summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and bar the agency from arresting him in its money laundering case.
The bench of justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal, which turned down Deshmukh’s request to invoke its special powers to prohibit the federal financial crimes agency from any coercive action against him, however, underlined that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader was free to apply to a competent court for anticipatory bail under section 438 of the criminal procedure code if he apprehended arrest.
Deshmukh is being investigated for money laundering in a case related to the April 21 First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the basis of the allegations of former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The former Mumbai top cop, who has been gone missing, earlier alleged that Deshmukh instructed certain Mumbai police officers, including the dismissed assistant inspector Sachin Waze to collect ₹100 crore every month from various establishments such as bars, dance bars and hookah parlours in Mumbai. ED registered its first case in this regard on May 11.
To be sure, ED has been issuing summons to Deshmukh since June 25, but he has not appeared before the agency so far.
In another case, ED lawyers on October 1 told a Mumbai court that the former minister was summoned five times between June 25 and August 16, but he was a no show.
In his petition filed in the high court, Deshmukh’s lawyer Aniket Nikam asked the high court to allow him before investigators via a videoconferencing link and let him produce documents sought by the agency through his representative.
Nikam argued that ED created the apprehension that Deshmukh may be arrested as they neither provided him with the list of documents sought from him nor a copy of the case registered against him, and this showed that ED officials were prejudicial to his interests.