Big blow to Maharashtra government: SC dismisses plea to stop CBI probe against Anil Deshmukh, says we will not ‘touch’ it

Mumbai3 minutes ago

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Anil Deshmukh is currently in jail since his arrest by the ED on 2 November 2021.

In a major setback to the Maharashtra government on Friday, the Supreme Court refused to stay the ongoing CBI probe against Anil Deshmukh. The court refused to interfere in the matter and rejected the demand of the state government to hand over the Deshmukh case to the SIT. During the hearing in the court, the SC said that we will not ‘touch’ this matter. Earlier, the Bombay High Court had also dismissed the petition of the Maharashtra government.

After this decision of the court, the CBI investigation against the former Home Minister will continue. The CBI has registered a case against Anil Deshmukh under sections of the IPC and section of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to alleged criminal conspiracy. In the same case, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey was also questioned by the CBI last week.

However, he was arrested on November 2 last year in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). His personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde were arrested in the same case in June.

The state government gave this reasoning behind giving the case to the SIT.
The Maharashtra government had said that former DGP of Maharashtra Subodh Kumar Jaiswal is now the director of CBI. There is a possibility of bias in the CBI investigation. Jaiswal was part of the Police Establishment Boards and supervised transfers and postings. If the CBI director is not a potential accused, then there must be witnesses. A bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundaresh heard the matter.

7 thousand page charge sheet has been filed against Deshmukh
Anil Deshmukh is currently in judicial custody. On December 29 last year, a 7000-page supplementary charge sheet was filed by the ED against Deshmukh and his son on charges of extortion and corruption. Apart from this, chargesheet has already been filed against 14 people including Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palade and personal assistant Kundan Shinde.

Why was Anil Deshmukh arrested?

  • The case pertains to allegations of money laundering and extortion. Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh, in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, had alleged that Anil Deshmukh had demanded Rs 100 crore per month from Sachin Vajhe when he was the Home Minister.
  • In this case, the CBI had registered an FIR against Anil Deshmukh. ED has taken action on the basis of CBI FIR. It is alleged that when Deshmukh was the Home Minister of Maharashtra, he had extorted Rs 4.7 crore from bar and restaurant owners. This amount was recovered during December 2020 to February 2021 and this amount was recovered through Assistant Inspector Sachin Vajhe of Mumbai Police.
  • According to the ED, out of this amount, Rs 4.18 crore was deposited in 4 different shell companies in Delhi. These companies donated this amount to a trust named Sri Sai Educational Institute. Anil Deshmukh and his family run this trust. That is, the money of recovery was used only in Deshmukh’s trust through shell companies.
  • Deshmukh had bought a flat in Worli, Mumbai in the name of his wife Aarti Deshmukh. This flat was bought in 2004 by paying cash, but the sale deed was signed in February 2020, when Anil Deshmukh was the Home Minister of Maharashtra. ED is also probing in this matter.
  • The Deshmukh family holds a 50 per cent stake in a company called Premier Port Lynx. This stake was bought for Rs 17.95 lakh, while the company and its remaining assets are valued at Rs 5.34 crore. ED is also investigating in this matter.

Where did the whole affair begin?
On 25 February 2021, an SUV filled with explosives was recovered near Antilia, the house of Mukesh Ambani. The police had found gelatin rods and vehicle number plates in the SUV. The SUV was then in the custody of Mansukh Hiren, whose body was found in a drain in Thane. The investigation of this case was earlier the responsibility of Sachin Wajhe, but later the responsibility of investigation was handed over to the NIA. The NIA arrested Vajhe in March. The NIA had made 10 people, including Sachin Vajhe, accused in the chargesheet. Vajhe was alleged to have parked an explosive-laden SUV near Ambani’s house to prove himself as a supercop.

After this, the Maharashtra government transferred Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh and made him the DG of Home Guard. After the transfer, Parambir Singh wrote a letter to Uddhav Thackeray, alleging illegal recovery.

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