Nagpur, Jun 25 : Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh could find himself in trouble as a probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has established the money trail of Rs 4 crore, which was allegedly paid by about 10 bar owners in Mumbai for three months, sources said.
The ED is conducting searches at four locations, including the residence of Deshmukh in Nagpur, in connection with the new findings in the money laundering case registered against the senior NCP leader.
This is the third time when ED has raided Deshmukh. These include Deshmukh’s two residences in Mumbai’s Malabar Hill and Worli. This comes a day after the ED recorded the statement of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Raju Bhujbal in the case.
Sources also said that Bhujbal at present is the in-charge of the enforcement wing of Mumbai Police and has the social service branch under his jurisdiction.
In Mumbai, the probe agency is also searching the premises of Deshmukh’s Personal Assistant Kundan Shinde and Personal Secretary Sanjeev Palande, based on the evidence gathered by ED on the alleged cash payments by the bar owners to Deshmukh.
Sources further said that the anti-money laundering agency has recorded the statements of over 10 bar owners in connection with the case. The ED probe into the financial transactions of Deshmukh is in line with CBI probe into allegations that the former Minister had asked police officers, including the dismissed Assistant Police Inspector (API) Sachin Waze, to illegally extort Rs 100 crore including Rs 40-50 crore each month from 1750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.
Deshmukh has denied the allegations which were made on March 20 by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in an eight-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, sent out after he was shunted out from his position as the Mumbai police chief.
The ED registered a case against Deshmukh for allegedly obtaining illegal gratification, based on an FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in April. The CBI said Deshmukh used his official position to obtain certain undue advantage and had also influenced the transfers and postings in the Mumbai Police as alleged by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.