Two days before raids on Deshmukh, ED recorded statement of sacked cop Waze in jail

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Mumbai, Jun 25 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has recorded the statement of dismissed Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze in connection with a money laundering case filed against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, an official said on Friday.

A two-member team of the ED recorded the statement of Waze at the Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday (June 23), the official said.

Waze is lodged in the jail under judicial custody after arrest in the sensational Antilia security scare-Mansukh Hiran murder case.

The state prison department had given access to ED officials to record Waze's statement in the jail, he said.

Two days after questioning Waze, the ED on Friday conducted searches at the premises of Deshmukh and his associates in Nagpur and Mumbai as part of a money laundering probe against the politician on Rs 100 crore bribery charges, officials said in Delhi.

The ED is probing the PMLA case based on an FIR registered by the CBI against the NCP leader, who faces allegations of corruption and misconduct.

The FIR was registered following a Bombay High Court order in April after corruption allegations were levelled against Deshmukh by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

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 and other police officials to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants of Mumbai.

Deshmukh, who resigned from the state cabinet after the HC order, has repeatedly denied Singh's allegations.

'Singh levelled false allegations against me after he was shunted out (from the post of Mumbai police chief in March). The CBI investigating the case and I will cooperate,' the NCP leader said on Friday.

The ED case came about after the CBI first carried out a preliminary enquiry followed by filing a regular case on the orders of the High Court that asked it to look into the allegations of bribery made against Deshmukh by Singh.

Officials said the search teams are looking for additional evidence that can be important for their probe.

The teams are trying to gather evidence and record statements to substantiate the claims made by about 10 bar owners to the ED that they paid about Rs 4 crore 'bribe' in cash that was allegedly handed over to the former home minister, the said. PTI DC RSY RSY

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