Cites age, says agency probe exposed to coronavirus infection
Geetanjali Minhas | June 29, 2021 | Mumbai
Citing non-supply of a copy of the ‘enforcement case information report’ (ECIR) and related documents, former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday did not make personal appearance before the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
This is the second time the probe agency had summoned Deshmukh to appear in its office in the alleged extortion case. On June 25, the ED had summoned Deshmukh to appear in its office the next day, on June 26, when he was represented by his advocate. The agency also conducted simultaneous raids at his residences in Mumbai and Nagpur on June 25.
Responding to the summons through his advocate Inderpal B Singh, Deshmukh said that unless ECIR/MBZO-I/66/2021 is provide to him he is not in a position to furnish documents the ED has demanded. Being about 72 years of age and suffering comorbidities, Deshmukh said, he has also “exposed his person” [to the possible Covid-19 infection threat] during the course of search and long recording of his statement on June 25 without maintenance of proper social distancing by many ED officials. “It may not be prudent and desirable to be present in person today and so I am sending his authorised representative,” he said, adding that he was available to the agency any day through audio -visual mode.
“It is humbly submitted that you had carried out searches at my residences on 25.6.2021 and I had rendered full cooperation and assistance to your good self. My statement under Section 50 of PMLA was also recorded. You have handed me over the subject Summons where you have asked me to bring the following documents – ‘Documents relevant to case no ECIR/MBZO- I/66/2021pertaining to Shri Anil Deshmukh and others’... Unless the said ECIR is perused by me it will not be possible to furnish the documents sought for in connection therewith,” he said in his letter to the probe agency.
The NCP leader also said he is a law abiding citizen who has led life of dignity and honour and has not evaded or avoided any process of law.
He is a popular leader with long public life and looking after the wellbeing of entire populace of Maharashtra and of his own constituency, he said.
“I am sanguine to expose the falsity, hollowness and lack of substance in the allegations levelled against me. Contrary to the fact that I have complied with the summons dated June 25, 2021, adverse propaganda is being unleashed against me in social and print media platforms alleging that instead of complying I have sought time to appear. In the light of my categoric representation and the fact that copy of ECIR /MBZO-I/66/2021 has still not been furnished to me, it is beyond doubt that the shoe is on the other foot…it is now no longer res integra that a person accused of a cognisable offence under PMLA is entitled to copy of ECIR,” he said in the letter.
Deshmukh has also said that proceedings against him have been initiated by individuals themselves guilty of grave offences and having dubious antecedents. He also said that that a political tug war has been initiated by the central government led by a particular political party which seeks to abuse their power and authority for vested interests and extraneous considerations to suppress and abuse their political opponents like him.
The ED on June 26 had arrested Deshmukh's personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde in connection with the alleged ‘hafta’ case. The agency’s remand copy of both officials says that over Rs 4 crore was collected from bar owners between December 2020 and February 2021 and was routed to Deshmukh's charitable trust in Nagpur through four shell companies in Delhi.
The ED’s case against Deshmukh and others was registered after CBI filed an FIR on the orders of the Bombay High Court. When the allegations came out in in April, Deshmukh had resigned from his post.
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