Mumbai: Alleging highhandedness by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), former home minister Anil Deshmukh has questioned the investigating agency’s motive behind approaching Magistrate court on October 1 for getting process issued against him when the HC was to hear the matter on October 4.
On October 1, magistrate had initiated criminal proceedings against Deshmukh after the ED said that the former minister had skipped all the five summons.
On Tuesday, his counsel Vikram Chaudhri and advocate Aniket Nikam questioned the ED’s motive before the Bombay High Court alleging that the central agency was trying to create a false impression that the minister was evading arrest.
Deshmukh had approached the HC last month challenging the summons. He has claimed that the ED has not furnished him a copy of Enforcement Case Information report (ECIR) or the list of documents pertaining to the case which he had sought for.
Chaudhri pointed out to the court that the HC has heard the matter on several occasions.
“The plea was listed on September 29 before another bench. Since the assignments were to change, the division bench adjourned the plea for hearing on October 4,” said Chaudhri.
In the meantime, on October 1, the ED approached the magistrate court and got the criminal proceedings against Deshmukh stating that he has failed to appear.
“The petition was pending before the HC and was to be heard on October 4. What happened in those four days? Why approach the magistrate and file a complaint?” asked Chaudhri.
The counsel further argued that things were more than what meets the eye. “A chain of circumstances shows all is not well, all is not fair. Things are beyond the label of being transparent,” added Chaudhri.
“You (ED) want to create a façade that this man (Deshmukh) is evading arrest. Fact is that they have not even issued show cause notice,” contended Chaudhri.
The HC will has kept the matter for hearing on October 13 when ED counsel will reply to Deshmukh’s plea.
ED had initiated money-laundering investigation on May 11, on the basis of an FIR under Section 120-B of IPC, 1860 and section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 registered by CBI against Deshmukh and others for allegedly attempting to obtain undue advantage for the improper and dishonest performance of their public duty for collection of funds to achieve the target of Rs 100 crore per month from various bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.
On June 25, ED had arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.