A local Mumbai court on Friday ordered former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh to appear before it on November 16 in an alleged money laundering case, reported Bar and Bench. The court issued a report, or legal opinion, to Deshmukh on a plea filed by the Directorate of Enforcement.
In its plea, the Execution Directorate said that the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party did not appear before the agency for questioning in this case, even after it sent him five summons. Deshmukh had ignored all summons and asked the Bombay High Court to quash them.
“The summons to appear has been served on the accused [Deshmukh]; despite this, he willfully omitted to appear before the complainant, ”argued the lawyers of the central agency.
The Enforcement Directorate claimed that Deshmukh had committed an offense under section 174 of the Indian Penal Code and requested court intervention. Under this section, a court may order an action against a person who does not obey a summons, notice, order or proclamation of an official.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RM Nirlekar on Friday said prima facie evidence had been established against Deshmukh and started proceedings.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating Deshmukh’s role in the alleged money laundering case on the basis of an initial information report filed by the Central Investigation Bureau.
The CBI is investigating the Bombay High Court instructions into allegations that Deshmukh coerced police officers to extort money on his behalf from bar and restaurant owners in Mumbai. Former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh raised the extortion allegations in March.
Singh alleged that dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze told him Deshmukh asked him to collect Rs 100 crore each month through illegal channels.
The Law Enforcement Directorate claimed that more than 4 crore rupees collected from bar owners between December and February was funneled to the Deshmukh charity trust in Nagpur through four shell companies in Delhi.
The Enforcement Directorate issued the last summons on August 18, a day after the Supreme Court refused to grant the former minister interim protection against coercive measures from the central agency. The court had, however, allowed Deshmukh to pursue other remedies available to him under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Deshmukh then wrote to the central agency, citing the court order, and said he decided to go to an appropriate court for redress in the case.
Deshmukh also asked the Bombay High Court to transfer the investigation into the alleged money laundering case to a special investigation team.