In an alleged “bribery” case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a criminal case under the anti-money laundering law against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, official sources said on Tuesday.
The central probe agency may now summon Deshmukh, 71, for questioning apart from others who have a role in the case, they said.
The sources said the case registered under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been filed after studying a CBI FIR that was filed against Deshmukh late last month.
The ED case comes about after the CBI first carried out a preliminary enquiry, followed by filing a regular case, on the orders of the Bombay High Court that asked it to look into the allegations of bribery made against Deshmukh by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The agency will probe if illicit funds were generated in the transfer and posting of police personnel in Maharashtra and if illegal extortion was done by the cops as alleged by Singh in his complaint.
The agency has powers to attach assets of the accused during the investigation stage and later file charge sheets against them before a PMLA court for trial.
Singh was shunted out from the prime post after the role of policeman Sachin Waze surfaced during investigation of the explosive-laden SUV that was found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house in Mumbai.
In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, after he was removed from the Police Commissioner's post, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants of Mumbai.
NCP leader Deshmukh was the home minister of the state in the MVA government headed by Thackeray.
The CBI booked Deshmukh and others under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections related to criminal conspiracy and section of Prevention of Corruption Act for "attempt to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of public duty".
"The preliminary enquiry prima facie revealed that a cognisable offence is made out in the matter, wherein the then home minister of Maharashtra, Shri Anil Deshmukh and unknown others have attempted to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of their public duty," the CBI FIR had alleged.
The CBI enquiry found Waze, assistant inspector of Mumbai police, had been reinstated into the police force after being out of service for more than 15 years.
Waze was entrusted with some of the most sensational and important cases of Mumbai city and Deshmukh was in knowledge of the said fact, the CBI FIR alleged.
It alleged that Deshmukh "and others" exercised undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials and thereby exercising undue influence over the performance of official duties by the officials, it claimed.
After registering the FIR on April 21, the CBI had also carried out searches in Mumbai and Nagpur at premises linked to the former minister who had resigned after the high court had ordered a CBI probe against him in connection with this case.
Deshmukh had told reporters after the searches that he cooperated with the CBI officials.
(With PTI inputs,)