MUMBAI: Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh approached the Bombay High Court on Thursday, seeking to quash the summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case registered against him.
Deshmukh’s application came up for hearing before a single bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere.
However, Justice Dere recused herself from hearing the application without assigning any reason and said, “Not before me”.
The application will be heard by another bench in due course of time.
The ED had initiated a probe against Deshmukh and his associates after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) lodged an FIR against the NCP leader on April 21 this year on charges of corruption and misuse of official position.
The ED’s case is that while serving as the state home minister, Deshmukh allegedly misused his position and through dismissed police officer Sachin Waze collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
The money was allegedly laundered to the Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by Deshmukh’s family.
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The ED has till now issued five summons to Deshmukh, asking him to appear before it for questioning.
However, Deshmukh skipped all the five summons, claiming that he would be seeking appropriate remedy available under law.
Deshmukh last month approached the Supreme Court against the summons and sought protection from arrest.
The apex court had, however, refused to grant any relief and said Deshmukh had alternate remedies.
The NCP leader then approached the HC, challenging the summons.
The ED has so far arrested two persons – Sanjeev Palande (additional collector-rank official who was working as Deshmukh’s private secretary) and Kundan Shinde (Deshmukh’s personal assistant) – in the case.
The agency last month submitted its prosecution complaint (equivalent to a charge sheet) against the duo before a special court in Mumbai.
The CBI had lodged the FIR against Deshmukh after it conducted a preliminary enquiry against the NCP leader following an order from the HC on April 5.
Deshmukh resigned from the post of state home minister the same day, but has denied any wrongdoing.