Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh who faces money laundering allegations has been sent to a 14-day judicial custody. The Enforcement Directorate’s request to a Mumbai court to extend his custody with them for interrogation was denied by the court today.
Following this, the court ordered that Mr Deshmukh be sent to judicial instead of the investigation agency’s custody. This also opens the way for Mr Deshmukh’s legal team to apply for bail.
Enforcement Directorate sources said the 71-year-old former minister has not been cooperating with them during questioning over allegations that he and his family used some 27 firms to launder tainted money. So the investigation agency had asked the court for more time to interrogate Mr Deshmukh, who was arrested earlier this week.
Mr Deshmukh’s son, Hrishikesh, was summoned yesterday in connection with the case but he skipped the call by the agency. Fresh summons will be issued on Monday, sources added.
Mr is accused of corruption and extortion by former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh, who is missing. The senior police officer faces similar allegations and cases filed by both Mumbai Police and the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Mr Deshmukh quit earlier this year, and he was arrested Tuesday after being questioned for over 12 hours – he skipped earlier summons – at the Enforcement Directorate’s Mumbai office.
His arrest has been slammed by Nationalist Congress Party or NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik, who called it “politically motivated”. “It is aimed at scaring leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (the ruling alliance),” he said this week.
Mr Deshmukh was also refused relief by the Bombay High Court after appealing for his summons to be cancelled. The senior NCP leader this week said all allegations against him are “false”.
The charges against Mr Deshmukh stem from a letter by Param Bir Singh to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in which he is accused of using the police to extort up to Rs 100 crore from Mumbai bars and restaurants every month.
The letter triggered a vicious spat between the state government and the opposition BJP.
The Enforcement Directorate took note of the allegations after a case was filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation based on Mr Singh’s allegations.