PMLA court extends Enforcement Directorate custody of two Deshmukh aides
Maharashtra’s former home minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Anil Deshmukh’s private secretary Sanjeev Palande has admitted that Mr. Deshmukh had a role in the transfer posting of police officers, especially in the posting of IPS (Indian Police Service) officers.
The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Thursday has extended the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody given to Mr. Deshmukh’s aides — his personal assistant Kundan Shinde, and Mr. Palande — till July 6.
They were arrested on June 26 under Section 3 (offence of money laundering) and Section 19 (power to arrest) of the PMLA.
The ED has relied upon a direction from the Bombay High Court to the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary inquiry against Mr. Deshmukh after former police commissioner Param Bir Singh made allegations of corruption of ₹100 crore against him. After the inquiry was concluded, an FIR was registered by the CBI, a case was also lodged against Mr. Deshmukh by ED for punishment for money laundering.
According to the ED’s probe, 11 companies were directly controlled by Mr. Deshmukh’s family members, and another 13 companies in the names of close associates of the Deshmukh family had come to light. Soon thereafter, bank account statements were analysed and it was revealed that money was flowing from companies indirectly controlled by Mr. Deshmukh’s family members to companies directly controlled by Mr. Deshmukh’s family members, and vice versa.
Subsequently search and seizures were conducted at residences and offices. Statements of bar owners and managers were recorded, which revealed that dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze, currently lodged at Taloja Central Jail, collected money from them.
Mr. Vaze in his statement has said he received direct instructions from Mr. Deshmukh and was told to collect ₹3 lakh per month from various bars and restaurants. He has said he handed over ₹4.70 crore from December 2020 to February 2021 to Mr. Shinde.
The ED has stated, “Mr. Palande has admitted that Mr. Deshmukh had a role in transfer posting of police officers especially the posting of IPS officers.”
The agency contends that both the accused have not provided satisfactory replies regarding concealment of proceeds of crime, and therefore their custody with it needs to be extended. The officers also need to interrogate the accused on incriminating documents and electronic evidence, it said.
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