ED Arrests Anil Deshmukh, Produces in Court; MVA slams arrest

The MVA allies Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress have castigated the ED and termed it as a "politically motivated move" aimed to destabilise the three-party government.

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested former Maharashtra Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh in an alleged money-laundering case after questioning him for more than 13 hours.

Nearly 12 hours after arresting Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) produced him before a Special Court even as the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi slammed the agency, while the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) warned of “more” action.

Deshmukh, 72, who had been incommunicado for nearly two months, ‘voluntarily’ appeared along with his lawyer, before the ED offices on Monday morning, and after a 13-hour grilling, was placed under arrest at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, shocking state political circles.

The MVA allies Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress have castigated the ED and termed it as a “politically motivated move” aimed to destabilise the three-party government.

They also questioned the Centre on the whereabouts of the ‘missing’ former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh who hurled the allegations against Deshmukh in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in March.

“The arrest does not fit within the legal framework, Deshmukh is already fighting a legal battle the outcome of which is awaited. The arrest is unfortunate,” said the Sena’s Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut.

“This action is clearly with political intentions to malign the MVA government Central agencies like ED, IT, NCB, CBI are misused to target the government and a repeat of West Bengal is being attempted here. But we are not scared,” said NCP National Spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik.

He questioned if even Singh, like many others in the past, was given a “safe passage”, whether he took the air route, or sea route or the land route to Nepal from Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh or Bihar as all the three states are BJP-ruled.

Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant termed it as “a travesty of justice as the complainant who levelled the allegations without giving any evidence is himself absconding or allowed to flee the country”.

“The Preliminary Enquiry of the CBI gave a clean chit to Deshmukh. His real crime was as home minister, he took certain steps which the BJP government at the Centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not like, including the Mohan Delkar suicide case or the Arnab Goswami matter,” Sawant said.

However, the BJP leaders have welcomed the action against Deshmukh and warned that the next target would be Sena Minister Anil Parab, with many more to follow soon.

Meanwhile, the ED is likely to seek a seven-day remand for Deshmukh, who has been arrested on alleged charges of collecting Rs 100 crore from Mumbai hoteliers and money-laundering.

Source
IANS

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