Friday, January 27, 2023

Enforcement Directorate probe against me not transparent: Anil Deshmukh in letter to agency

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Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has alleged in a letter to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that the ongoing investigation against him by the agency is not transparent and feared his liberty will be curbed by “circumventing the process of law”.

In the letter, Deshmukh said he had spent most of his life in the service of people to public service. “A series of events have given rise to a bonafide apprehension in my mind that neither the procedure of law is being followed nor any objective impartial, or transparent investigations are being carried out.  I also apprehend invasion of my liberty by circumventing the process of law. In such compelling circumstances, therefore, I am approaching the Hon’ble Court for safeguarding and protecting my fundamental rights and to also ensure that the investigations are aboveboard and within the ambit of the procedure established by law. I am expecting the listing and hearing of my petition in the next few days.”

In the letter, Deshmukh informed the ED that he has approached the courts to ensure the money laundering probe against him is “above board and within the ambit of the procedure established by law”.

Deshmukh said, “It is my basic constitutional and fundamental right as a citizen to be subjected to fair, impartial, unprejudicial, unbiased objective and transparent investigations by following the procedure established by law.”

He said the requests made by him cannot even remotely be termed as any kind of effort to dictate the manner to conduct the investigation. “You have chosen to advert to the CBI FIR registered against me by admitting that it is a public document and that you are investigating the offence under PMLA which pertains to the investigation into the proceeds of crime which has resulted out of criminal activity relating to the aforesaid schedule offense! In such circumstances, when there is an inextricable interconnection and link between the FIR registered by CBI and your investigations, would it not be imprudent to deny me the copy of the ECIR.  Also, in the CBI FIR, I have been named as an accused.  In such circumstances, calling me to record my statement in terms of Section 50 PMLA would my constitutional right under Article 20 ( 3 ) be not imperiled,” Deshmukh says.

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This is the third time Deshmukh has been summoned by the ED. He skipped two of the earlier summons. Earlier, Deshmukh had requested the ED to conduct his questioning through audio or video mode, citing his health problems and the Covid-19 pandemic. The controversy is related to former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s extortion charges against Anil Deshmukh. In a letter to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Singh refuted Deshmukh’s remarks that his transfer was due to serious lapses in the Antilia bomb scare case.

On April 21, the CBI registered an FIR against the Nationalist Congress Party leader and unknown individuals under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code. The ED filed an ECIR against Anil Deshmukh on May 11 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for allegedly obtaining illegal gratification which was based on the corruption case registered by the CBI.

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