ED questions ex-Maha home minister Deshmukh’s personal secretary

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Mumbai, Jun 25 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday questioned the personal secretary of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh in a money laundering case registered against the latter, sources said.

Deshmukh’s personal secretary, Sanjeev Palande, was brought to the ED's office in the afternoon for inquiry in connection with the case, they said.

Earlier in the day, the ED conducted searches at the premises of Deshmukh in Nagpur and Mumbai as part of the money laundering probe against him.

In Mumbai, searches were carried out at Deshmukh's flat in Worli and at the 'Dnyaneshwari' bungalow in south Mumbai's Malabar Hill, which was allotted to Deshmukh when he was a minister.

The ED officials also conducted searches at Palande’s premises in Mumbai, the sources said.

“In the afternoon, Palande was brought to the ED office for questioning. The agency had recorded the statement Mumbai DCP Raju Bhujbal on Thursday,' they said, adding that the statements of a few bar owners have also been recorded.

The central probe agency had registered a criminal case under the anti-money laundering law against Deshmukh and others last month after studying a CBI FIR.

The ED case came about after the CBI first carried out a preliminary inquiry, 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.

Deshmukh, a politician of the NCP, was the home minister in the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. He had resigned in April after these allegations were made against him.

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 police officer Sachin Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants of Mumbai. PTI DC NP NP

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