File image of former Maharashtra mome minister Anil Deshmukh (Image: ANI)
Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday claimed a false narrative was being created by vested interests that he was avoiding to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in connection with its probe into a money laundering case.
The NCP leader said he is keen to present himself before unbiased authorities.
In a statement released after he entered the ED’s office on Monday, Deshmukh further claimed that a witch-hunt has been launched at the instance of certain inimical interests, by people who have absolutely no credibility, honour or pride.
"A false narrative, an erroneous impression, is being created by these vested interests that I am evading or avoiding to appear before the Enforcement Directorate. Undoubtedly, such propaganda is absolutely baseless," Deshmukh said.
The NCP leader further said he has only sought a transparent, fair and an objective probe without any fear or favour.
"I am keen to appear before such unbiased authorities and expose the falsity of the accusations that have been levelled against me with a fervent hope that the officers of the Enforcement Directorate shall rise up to the occasion and act in a fair manner, and also lay go rest the misgivings about my cooperation with the investigations," the letter said.
Officials of the probe agency said they will record the statement of the 71-year-old NCP leader under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), in connection with the criminal investigation being carried out by it in the alleged Rs 100 crore bribery-cum-extortion racket in the Maharashtra Police establishment, that led to Deshmukh’s resignation from the post of state home minister in April this year.
Deshmukh had skipped at least four summons issued by the ED in the case, but after the Bombay High Court last week refused to quash these summons, he appeared before the agency on Monday.
The ED’s case against Deshmukh and others came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a corruption case against him related to allegations of bribery made by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Slamming Singh without taking his name, Deshmukh said unscrupulous persons are themselves knee-deep involved in several rackets of corruption.
The principal person who held the high office of Commissioner of Police is now a wanted absconding criminal, Deshmukh said.
A magistrate’s court on Saturday issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Singh in an alleged extortion case registered in suburban Goregaon.
Prior to it, a court in neighbouring Thane district last week issued an NBW against Singh in connection with another extortion case registered against him.
On Sunday, the CBI also took into custody one Santosh Jagtap in connection with a case of alleged corruption against Deshmukh, making it the first arrest in the high-profile case, officials earlier said.
The agency arrested Jagtap, an alleged middleman, from Thane, they said, adding that the accused was evading the probe even after the issuance of non-bailable warrants against him last month.