Supreme Court to hear Anil Deshmukh's plea seeking protection in money laundering case today
New Delhi, July 30: The Supreme Court will hear a petition filed by former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, seeking protection from any "coercive action", in the money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The money laundering case
The ED is conducting a probe into the money laundering case related to an alleged multi-crore bribery-cum-extortion from orchestra bars in the state.
The ED has alleged Sachin Waze, the dismissed cop collected Rs 4.7 crore allegedly on Deshmukh's instructions. The money was transferred to the former minister's Nagpur- based educational trust by his son, who routed it via two hawala operators and showed it as a donation.
Deshmukh is the president of the trust and his two sons, Salil and Hrishikesh, are trustees.
Earlier on June 25, the ED had raided Deshmukh's residences in Nagpur and Mumbai. Raids were conducted at five places.
Following the raids, the ED arrested Deshmukh's personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde after it carried out raids against them and the NCP leader in Mumbai and Nagpur.
Case against Deshmukh
The probe agencies case against Deshmukh and others was made out after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) first carried out a preliminary enquiry followed by a regular case being filed on the orders of the Bombay High Court.
The court had asked the CBI to look into the allegations of bribery made against Deshmukh by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Deshmukh has denied any wrongdoing.
Ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in an eight-page letter addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleged that Deshmukh used to call police officers to his official residence and give them a "collection target" asking them to collect funds worth at least Rs 100 crore per month from bars, restaurants and other establishments.
On interrogation, Sachin Vaze allegedly confessed to accepting Rs 4.70 crore from bar owners between December 2020 and February 2021. Vaze has reportedly told officials that the money was handed over to Kundan Sambhaji Shinde, Anil Deshmukh's personal assistant, in two installments in January and February 2021.
Vaze had also told the ED that he attended a meeting at the official residence of the home minister wherein he was given a list of bar and restaurant owners and asked "to collect Rs 3 lakh per month from each bar and restaurant" in Mumbai.
As per the PMLA, a statement recorded under the stringent sections of this law is admissible before the court.
Deshmukh had to resign from his post in April following the allegations and he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said that the charges levelled against him were baseless.
In his last communication sent to the agency through his lawyers, Deshmukh said the agency had already recorded his statement during his "several hours" of interaction with the ED investigators when they raided his premises here on June 25.
He wrote in a letter saying he was a law abiding citizen "who has led a life of dignity and honour."
"I am sanguine to expose the falsity, hollowness and lack of substance in the allegations levelled against me," he had stated.