Staff Reporter :
A special team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) from Mumbai on Sunday conducted searches at two residences of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in Katol and Narkhed tehsils as part of a probe into a money laundering case. The ED team faced massive protests from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers at both places. A large number of policemen were deployed at two places to maintain law and order situation, police officials said. The police officials informed that they got the information of ED’s searches at Katol and Wadvihira village in Narkhed tehsil at 7 am. One team searched Deshmukh’s house near Bus terminus in Katol while another team raided his ancestral home at Wadvihira village. The searches concluded at around 1 pm.
The ED team failed to get any substantial evidence during the searches, sources informed. During the searches, the ED team took Deshmukh’s accountant Pankaj Deshmukh from Wadvihira to Katol in the afternoon. He was released after recording his statement. As the news of ED raids spread in the town, a large number of NCP workers and Deshmukh’s supporters gathered at the spot and launched heavy sloganeering. Members of NCP’s women cell staged a sit-in outside the former minister’s residence with placards ‘Mi Anil Deshmukh’. The ED came with a platoon of Central Reserve Police Force for their security. Staff of Katol police station were deployed at both places to control the mob, police officials said. After concluding the searches, the ED teams returned to Mumbai in the evening.
It may be mentioned here that the ED is conducting a probe into the money laundering case related to an alleged multi-crore bribery-cum-extortion racket that led to Deshmukh’s resignation from the post of home minister in April this year. Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande (51) and personal assistant Kundan Shinde (45) were arrested by the agency. The Central agency had registered a case against Deshmukh on May 11 following an FIR registered by CBI in alleged money laundering case. Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh had alleged corruption charges against Deshmukh in a letter written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Singh, in his letter, had alleged that Deshmukh had asked suspended API of Mumbai Police Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore per month. On May 24, the CBI had conducted searches at Deshmukh’s residence in Nagpur.
Later, the ED team conducted searches on May 25 Sagar Bhatewara’s house in Shivaji Nagar, Sameer Isaac’s house in Sadar and Jafri brothers’ house in Jafar Nagar, in Nagpur city, they said. On June 16, the ED officials conducted searches at coal trader Dharampal Agarwal, CAs Bhavik Panjwani and Sudhir Baheti in Nagpur. These May 25 and June 16 searches by ED teams were connected to Deshmukh. On June 26, ED had conducted searches at Deshmukh’s Civil Lines residence in Nagpur. Deshmukh has already denied any wrongdoing.