Terming the probe initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh “unjustified”, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader’s lawyer on Wednesday claimed that dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze has not made any mention of handing over money either to Deshmukh or his personal assistant in his affidavit before justice KU Chandiwal’s inquiry commission.
Deshmukh came under the scanner after former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh in a letter to the chief minister and others levelled serious allegations of corruption against him. Singh claimed that Deshmukh had summoned some Mumbai Police officers, including Vaze, and informed them that he had a target to collect ₹100 crore from Mumbai and had instructed them to collect at least ₹3 lakh- ₹4 lakh from bars and restaurants, hookah parlours and such other establishments in Mumbai every month.
Deshmukh’s lawyer, advocate Kamlesh Ghumre, claimed at a press conference that the probe being conducted by ED was more in the nature of harassment than a genuine investigation. Ghumre pointed out the contradictions in affidavits submitted before the inquiry commission and the statements being recorded during the probe by the central agencies.
Ghumre said Deshmukh’s son and wife were also being summoned by the ED, but they have chosen not to join the agency’s probe. The lawyer added that Deshmukh’s wife, in reply to ED’s summons, has said that she is aged and is suffering from various ailments and has requested the ED to interview her through video-conferencing. Ghumre added that she was just a housewife and has nothing to do with the entire episode.
“Deshmukh feels this investigation is not justified, hence he is not joining the investigation. Whatever documents ED wants, the agency should at least tell us. We have Zoom and other ways to hold video conferences, but you are directly asking us to join questioning.”
Ghumre on Wednesday claimed that Singh’s allegations have turned out to be false. “Vaze hasn’t mentioned anywhere in the affidavit (filed before the inquiry commission) that he has given any money to Deshmukh. Vaze, in his affidavit, has never said that he met Deshmukh in February. In fact, he has mentioned that he had just met Deshmukh once,” Ghumre claimed.