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I-T department raids premises linked to Anil Deshmukh in tax evasion case

Updated on Sep 18, 2021 03:34 AM IST
In Nagpur, Deshmukh’s residence was searched by I-T officials accompanied by personnel from central security forces.
Former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh. (HT file photo)
By, Hindustan Times, Mumbai

The investigation wing of the Income Tax (I-T) department conducted searches on Friday at the residence and offices of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh in Nagpur, Mumbai and Pune for suspected tax evasion.

According to people familiar with the matter in the department, multiple I-T teams started search operations on Friday morning. The searches continued till the evening.

In Nagpur, Deshmukh’s residence was searched by I-T officials accompanied by personnel from central security forces. The Nagpur city police deployed additional security outside the residence as many of the leader’s supporters gathered outside following the searches, said a senior police officer.

The tax department neither shared any details nor released a statement in connection with the searches.

Deshmukh was not available for a comment.

The former minister has been at the centre of controversies this year. On August 23, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a charge sheet against his personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde in a money laundering case, in which the former minister is the main accused. The charge sheet also includes a statement from dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze, one of the accused in the Antilla bomb scare case, and in the murder of Mansukh Hiran.

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In his statement to ED, Vaze has claimed that 40 crore was collected from ten deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) and “paid to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and transport minister Anil Parab” for “letting the order of then city police commissioner Param Bir Singh to transfer them go through”.

Vaze claimed that Deshmukh and Parab were not happy with Singh’s order regarding transfer and postings of the 10 DCPs and got the order reversed. “After 3-4 days, I came to know that after some adjustments and consideration of money, the said order was issued,” Vaze told ED.

The money laundering case against Deshmukh and his aides was registered after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a first information report (FIR) against the minister on April 21. The basis of the FIR was corruption allegations made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh. Singh alleged that Deshmukh demanded a monthly collection of 100 crore from Mumbai’s bars and restaurants, a claim that eventually forced Deshmukh to resign.

According to the ED charge sheet, Vaze also corroborated the allegations of corruption against Deshmukh.

“The I-T department’s action against Deshmukh is very surprising as his tax assessments (files) are clear. He has never received any intimation or notice in the past 20 years from the I-T department. The action (searches) is nothing, but pure political harrasment,” Deshmukh’s lawyer Inderpal Singh said.

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