Image: PTI/Representative Image
The ED will record dismissed Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze's statement on Friday in connection with the money laundering case against ex-Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, sources confirmed to Republic TV. Lodged at the Taloja Jail, he is accused in the Antilia bomb scare case and the Mansukh Hiren death case. A day earlier, the special NIA court granted permission to the central agency to question him for a period of three days.
As per the ED, Deshmukh's personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde "confessed" that Vaze collected Rs.4.70 crore from bar owners in Mumbai. While seeking permission from the court, the ED revealed that it wanted to confront Palande and Shinde with the ex-assistant Police Inspector. The arrested duo has been remanded to judicial custody until July 20. Sources also indicated that the ED is likely to summon Param Bir Singh soon in connection with this case.
The controversy came to the fore on February 20 when ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh levelled serious 'extortion' charges against Anil Deshmukh. In a letter addressed to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Singh refuted Deshmukh's remarks that his transfer was due to serious lapses in the Antilia bomb scare case. Moreover, he alleged that the NCP leader had asked Sachin Vaze to extort Rs.100 crore per month from 1750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai. After the SC directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry, Deshmukh stepped down as the Home Minister on moral grounds and was replaced by Dilip Walse Patil.
On April 21, the CBI registered an FIR against the NCP leader and unknown individuals under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code. According to the FIR, the former Maharashtra Home Minister was aware that dismissed Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze was entrusted with most of the sensational and important cases of Mumbai. It also accused him and others of exercising undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials and thereby exercising undue influence over the performance of official duties by the officials.
Subsequently, the ED filed an ECIR against Anil Deshmukh on May 11 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for allegedly obtaining illegal gratification which was based on the corruption case registered by the CBI. On June 26, it arrested the NCP leader's personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde who have been remanded to its custody. For three times in a row, Deshmukh has refused to appear before the ED pending the disposal of his plea in the apex court seeking protection against 'coercive action'.