ED arrests two aides of Anil Deshmukh in PMLA case

ED arrests two aides of Anil Deshmukh in PMLA case

Deshmukh, who had resigned from his post in April following the allegations, has denied any wrongdoing

Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. Credit: Twitter/@AnilDeshmukhNCP

The Enforcement Directorate has arrested former Maharashtra Home Minister and senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh’s Personal Secretary Sanjeev Palande and Personal Assistant Kundan Shinde in the wee hours of Saturday.

Deshmukh has also been summoned to appear on Saturday; however, his lawyers have sought more time – and a fresh date would be given to him by the agency.

Deshmukh (70), a senior politician, is facing a probe by ED in connection with the allegations made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, who is now the Commandant General of Home Guards.

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, which ordered a probe into the allegations.

Read: Anil Deshmukh's 2 aides remanded in ED custody till July 1

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.

Initially the CBI registered an FIR into the case and subsequently the ED has joined the investigations.

Palande and Shinde were grilled for 9 hours before they were arrested.

The arrest of Deshmukh’s two aides comes barely hours after he said that the allegations were baseless and he was cooperating with the two federal agencies.

The duo were produced before a special PMLA court on Saturday, which remanded them to ED custody till  1 July.

While the ED has not specified any details, the current investigation involves a financial trail of Rs four crore that is believed to have been collected from Vaze.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, however, had said: “We are neither surprised not worried….This is being done only to harass Deshmukh… This is a new political pattern (of misuse of its agencies)  by the Centre. They will get nothing, we are not worried by such investigations”.

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