On September 6, it was reported that a lookout notice had been issued by the Enforcement Department (ED) against National Congress Party’s leader and former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to prevent him from leaving the country.
Notably, Deshmukh has skipped several summons issued by ED in the money laundering case worth several crores. A lookout notice is issued by a law enforcement agency to prevent an accused from leaving the country. Such notices are valid for a year or till the issuing agency withdraws them. ED has stated that Deshmukh has ignored five summons so far.
Enforcement Directorate issued a lookout notice against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in connection with a money laundering case— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2021
(File pic) pic.twitter.com/Eg0le4cR4y
The ED states that Deshmukh had received illegal gratifications worth over 4 crores from various orchestra and bar owners in Mumbai, and had tried to show it as legal money through an organisation called Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha.
Deshmukh’s legal team tried to influence the agency’s probe
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Anand Daga, a member of Dekhmukh’s legal team, for allegedly trying to influence the probe against the former minister. Reportedly, a confidential report that gave a ‘clean chit to Deshmukh was leaked to his lawyer by an officer of CBI in exchange for an iPhone 12 Pro as a bribe.
On September 2, a Delhi court sent Daga and accused sub-inspector Abhishek Tiwari to two-day CBI custody in connection with the probe of leaked internal documents. The next day CBI arrested Daga on corruption charges after intense interrogation.
In the FIR registered by CBI, it was stated, “It has been reliably learnt that the copies of confidential documents pertaining to the enquiry and investigation have been disclosed to unauthorised persons. Abhishek Tiwari, sub-Inspector, came in contact with Anand Dilip Daga, a Nagpur-based advocate, during the enquiry and has been in regular contact with him since then.”
During the investigation, CBI found that Tiwari visited Pune to investigate the case on June 28. The FIR read, “It has been learnt that advocate Anand Daga met Abhishek Tiwari and handed over an iPhone 12 Pro as illegal gratification to him in lieu of passing details regarding the said enquiry and the investigation and thereby causing improper performance of public duty. It has also been reliably learnt that he had obtained illegal gratification from Daga at regular intervals.”
CBI alleged that Tiwari leaked a series of documents related to the case to Daga using WhatsApp. The leaked documents were sent to various news organisations. Though the documents suggested clean chit to Deshmukh, an FIR was filed against the former minister. When the documents were leaked to the press, several questions were raised on its authenticity. CBI also denied giving clean chit to Deshmukh.
Supreme Court denied any relief to Deshmukh
Earlier, Deshmukh claimed that he would appear in front of ED only after exhausting the legal remedies. He alleged that the Supreme Court accepted his plea and the case would be heard soon. However, it was later reported that the apex court denied any interim relief to the former minister. Subsequently, he moved to Bombay High Court to get the FIR quashed.
In his reply to ED, Deshmukh claimed that the FIR against him was unfair. He came under the scanner of CBI and ED after former Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh alleged that the former minister was involved in corruption. Deshmukh has denied all charges against him.