The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has claimed that ex-Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s former secretary Sanjeev Palande was “instrumental” in arranging meetings between dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze and Deshmukh to “discuss the possibility of increase in collection money from bar owners”.
The statement was made before the Bombay High Court in an affidavit filed by assistant director, ED, Tassine Sultan on Friday.
ED had filed affidavit in reply to the petition filed by Palande seeking quashing of the case filed against him by ED in the alleged money laundering case alleging that it was a politically motivated case and he was falsely being implicated.
Palande, an additional collector-rank official, who was working as Deshmukh’s personal secretary, was arrested by the ED on June 26 in the money laundering case. He is presently in judicial custody.
Palande’s counsel Shekhar Jagtap said that the “politically motivated” case was based on the vague allegations made by dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze, who has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Waze has been arrested in the Antilia bomb scare and businessman Mansukh Hiren killing case.
Alleging that Palande has not approached the HC with clean hands, the ED affidavit reads: “The petitioner (Palande) was instrumental in passing on the instructions of Shri Anil Deshmukh, the then home minister of Maharashtra, to Sachin Vaze with regard to collection of tainted money from Orchestra Bars and assisted Shri Anil Deshmukh in money laundering activities as defined under section 3 read with section 4 of the PMLA,” states the affidavit.
The affidavit further states that Palande has admitted in his statement to the investigating agency the that one cabinet minister used to send a list of police officials for purpose of transfers and postings to Deshmukh. This used to be the officers of the rank of ACP and above.
Palande used to send this “unofficial list” to the Police Establishment Board as per Deshmukh’s instructions, claims the ED affidavit.
“Further the petitioner in his statement dated 27.06.2021 has stated that a minister also used to meet with the Home Minister with the list containing the names of police officials and respective places where they have to be transferred along with the names of concerned MLAs and MLCs from Shiv Sena,” the ED has claimed in its 28page affidavit.
Opposing the quashing petition, ED has denied that Palande was detained for a long time.
According to the ED’s affidavit, Palande was arrested as “there was reason to believe” that he was guilty for the offence punishable under the prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on the material collected by the investigating agency.
Palande had contended that he was not given a copy of the ECIR and was not even informed of the ground on which he was being arrested.
The ED has claimed under the PMLA, there is no requirement to inform the grounds of arrest to the arrested person “immediately”.
The investigating agency has also said that there is no case of “double jeopardy” since the proceedings initiated by the CBI are different from that of the ED.
The case –
ED had initiated the probe against Deshmukh and his associates after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR following a Court-directed enquiry into allegations of corruption and misuse of his official position.
According to ED, Deshmukh, when he was the Home Minister of Maharashtra, misused his position by directing dismissed Mumbai cop Sachin Waze to collect money to the tune of ₹4.7 crore from various restaurants and bars in Mumbai.
It was claimed that Deshmukh had laundered the extorted money to a Nagpur-based trust ‘Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan’, an educational trust controlled by Deshmukh’s family members.
On June 26, the ED carried out simultaneous raids at residences of Palande and Deshmukh. After the raid, Palande was given a notice under section 50 (Powers of authorities regarding summons, production of documents and to give evidence, etc.) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and taken to the ED office. There he was detained the whole day for questioning and was formally arrested the next day, June 26, Sunday at 1,45 am.
Along with Palande, the ED has also arrested one Kundan Shinde (Deshmukh’s personal assistant) – in the case.