ED money laundering probe likely against Deshmukh
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to launch a money laundering probe against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on the basis of a case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), people familiar with the developments said on Sunday.
Mandated to probe financial aspects in a scheduled offence, the central anti-money laundering agency is currently analysing the CBI case, which claims that Deshmukh and “unknown others” used their official position to obtain undue advantage, as well as influenced the transfers and postings in the Mumbai Police, as alleged by former city police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Singh said that Deshmukh asked suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze, currently behind bars in the February 25 Antilia explosives scare case as well as the alleged murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran on March 5, to collect ₹100 crore every month from hotels, bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
The Bombay high court had asked CBI to look into the allegations as part of a preliminary enquiry. The premier anti-corruption agency found “prime facie” truth in these allegations after which the PE was converted into a regular case (FIR) on April 21 and agency teams raided Deshmukh’s residences in Mumbai and Nagpur on Saturday.
“According to the allegations, the amount involved ( ₹100 crore every month) is huge and it is a case of public importance. We are looking into the CBI FIR. A call will be taken very soon,” said an ED officer who didn’t want to be named.
Unlike CBI, ED can record statement of any person in a case under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and it is admissible as evidence in the court.
CBI has alleged that Deshmukh not only took undue advantage in his position as the state home minister but was also aware of the fact that Vaze was being entrusted with all sensational and important cases of Mumbai Police, something officers want to further investigate as it may involve a money angle, said a CBI officer, requesting anonymity.
The “unknown others” named by CBI in its FIR are suspected to be other government officials in Maharashtra who will now be probed formally. Several officers of the Mumbai Police are likely to soon receive summons from CBI.
Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson and state minister Nawab Malik on Saturday called the action being taken in the alleged extortion racket case as politically motivated.