Former Maharashtra home minister Mr Anil Deshmukh appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday for questioning a money laundering case. In an open letter, Mr Deshmukh said that false allegations were being made against him that he was not cooperating with central agencies.
“A false narrative and an erroneous impression are being created by vested interests that I am evading or avoiding appearing before the Enforcement Directorate. Undoubtedly, such propaganda is baseless,” Anil Deshmukh said.
Deshmukh had skipped at least four summonses issued by the ED in the case. However, the Bombay High Court last week refused to quash these summonses.
Earlier this year, former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh had alleged that Anil Deshmukh had asked sacked police officer Sachin Vaze, who had been arrested by the NIA in the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case, to collect Rs 100 crore every month, including Rs 40-50 crore from bars and restaurants in Mumbai. It was also alleged that Deshmukh exercised undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials.
The court, however, directed the ED to permit Deshmukh’s lawyer to remain present at the central agency’s office during the former home minister’s questioning.
Last week, the Bombay High Court rejected Deshmukh’s prayer to restrain the ED and the CBI from taking any coercive action against him. The court said if Deshmukh apprehended his arrest, he had the right to approach the appropriate court to seek protection.