INDIA. Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at the residences of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in Nagpur and Mumbai, in connection with the alleged money laundering (under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) and bribery case, even as activists of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) staged protests outside his residence in Nagpur on Friday.
The NCP activists raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for their alleged high-handedness and attempt to “harass” Deshmukh. Subsequently, the NCP office bearers Duneshwar Pethe, Prashant Pawar, and others were rounded up by police. A heavy CRPF security was deployed outside Deshmukh’s residence located near Nagpur GPO.
A team comprising 5 ED officers from Mumbai, accompanied by local ED officials reached Deshmukh’s residence at about 8 am on Friday. The raids were conducted also at his residence at Sukhada Towers in Worli in South Central Mumbai. However, Deshmukh was not at home and stated to be in Pune.
The ED had also interrogated DCP Raju Bhujbal of Mumbai police, on Thursday in connection with charges of collecting ransom from bar owners in Mumbai. As of now, the petitions, alleging that huge money was collected by Deshmukh for transfer of police officials and he had also entrusted the task of collecting money from bar owners in Mumbai, are being heard by the Bombay high court. The petitions have been filed by former Mumbai Commissioner police commissioner Param Bir Singh and advocate Jayashri Patil.
In his letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had indulged in “malpractices” and asked the suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore every month from bar owners in Mumbai.
The CBI is also carrying out a preliminary inquiry, followed by filing a regular case. The CBI in its “Enforcement case information report”, has reportedly noted the misuse of powers by Deshmukh and has recommended action under the PMLA. The raids were conducted at Deshmukh’s residences and business premises of his relatives in Pune and Nagpur in April and May as well.
The investigating agencies are also probing the role of Mumbai police officers in the industrialist Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case, in which a car laden with explosive gelatine sticks was found parked outside Ambani’s residence “Antilia” in South Mumbai in February last. The policemen including Vaze, encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma and others have already been arrested by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in this case.