ED issues lookout notice against former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh
A lookout notice has been issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh in a money laundering case worth ₹100 crore.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader has skipped several summons issued by the agency. The circular has been reportedly issued to prevent Deshmukh from leaving the country.
On September 3, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested a member of Deshmukh’s legal team, Anand Daga, after day-long questioning for allegedly trying to influence the agency’s probe into the corruption charges against his client.
Earlier, the former minister had said he would appear before the ED only "after the legal process is completed", claiming the Supreme Court had accepted his plea on the matter and the case would be heard soon. He had, however, offered to make himself available for recording his statement by electronic medium of the agency’s choice.
The apex court had refused to offer him interim relief from coercive action in the lawsuit last month.
On August 23, the federal agency filed a charge sheet against two of his aides in the case. Kundan Shinde, who was Deshmukh's assistant, and his personal secretary Sanjeev Paland have been chargesheeted in the case, according to the news agency. Both were arrested by the federal agency on June 26 for their alleged role in the laundering of money on Deshmukh’s directions.
The ED had registered the money laundering case against Deshmukh after the 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 case – 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 the behest of Deshmukh’s son, Hrishikesh, the two brothers diverted the money as donations to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by the Deshmukhs.