Troubles continued to mount for former Maharashtra home minister and senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out a raid at his Nagpur and Mumbai residences among other places on Friday.
Deshmukh (70), a close aide of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, is already facing a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The ED raids against him come months after the CBI registered an FIR against him to probe allegations of corruption and misconduct.
The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, however, lashed out at the Centre and the BJP for targeting the state government.
“We are neither surprised nor worried,” said Pawar, a former four-time Maharashtra Chief Minister and three-term Union Cabinet Minister.
Deshmukh had to resign from the government after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, who is currently the Commandant General of Home Guards, wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
According to the allegations, Deshmukh had fixed a collection target of Rs 100 crore per month for Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who was the then head of the Crime Intelligence Unit of the elite Crime Branch-CID of Mumbai Police.
Singh later approached the Supreme Court and then at the apex court's instructions Bombay High Court ordered a probe into the allegations.
Vaze, who has now been dismissed, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the twin cases of planting of a gelatin sticks-laden Scorpio near Antilia, the Carmichael Road residence of Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani and the murder of the Thane-based owner of the SUV Mansukh Hiran.
Meanwhile, the MVA allies – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress accused the Centre of misusing powers for political purposes.
Shiv Sena chief spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said the Centre is misusing various probe agencies to target opposition parties’ and their leaders on flimsy charges.
Congress general secretary spokesperson Sachin Sawant sought to know “what the ED is trying to search while raiding the residence of Anil Deshmukh” since both Param Bir Singh and sacked cop Sachin Vaze “never said money was given”.
“If the ED feels that money was given, why no raids on Vaze and Singh who supposedly gave the money? Sad state of democracy… We must save democracy,” said Sawant.
Besides Deshmukh, his personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde have come under the scanner of CBI and ED and their roles are being investigated by the two federal agencies.