Mumbai A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday remanded former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, his personal secretary Sanjeev Palande, personal assistant Kundan Shinde and dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Vaze – all arrested in connection with the corruption case registered against the NCP leader – to 14 days judicial custody.
CBI had taken the custody of 73-year-old Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader on April 6 from Arthur Road jail, whereas the three others were arrested on April 4 – also from Arthur Road and Taloja jails.
On Saturday, CBI produced all the four before the special court and sought judicial custody remand for Palande, Shinde and Waze, as the agency had already exhausted their 15 days police custody remand – the maximum police custody remand permissible for offences under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The agency sought extension of Deshmukh’s CBI custody remand for three more days, contending that the police officers, who allegedly secured transfers or postings by paying bribes to Deshmukh and others, were required to be identified and the 73-year-old NCP leader was also required to be confronted with them.
Deshmukh’s counsel, advocate Aniket Nikam opposed the plea, contending that already sufficient custody had been granted to the central agency and there was no need to extend the custody any further.
Special CBI judge DP Shingade accepted his contention and rejected CBI’s plea for three days extension in Deshmukh’s CBI custody. The court said the grounds pleaded by the agency in its remand application for extension of his CBI custody were not “good and satisfactory.”
CBI had registered the corruption case against Deshmukh on April 21, 2021, based on allegations levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
In a letter written to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on March 20, 2021, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh instructed certain Mumbai police officers, including Vaze, to collect an amount of ₹100 crore every month from Mumbai’s restaurants and bars.
Apart from the allegations of corruption/extortion from bar owners, the CBI has also included the topic of reinstatement of Vaze in service after remaining under suspension for over 15 years and the alleged exercise of undue influence by Deshmukh and others in transfers and postings of senior police officers in the state.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a money laundering case against Deshmukh, his son Hrishikesh and others on the basis of the April 2021 FIR. The ED, in its probe, has already found that on Deshmukh’s instructions, Waze had allegedly called a meeting of bar owners, and between December 2020 and February 2021, collected ₹4.7 crore from owners of orchestra bars in Mumbai. In his statement to the ED, Waze had revealed that he had handed over the “extorted money” in two instalments to Kundan Shinde.
Shinde and Palande were first arrested by the ED on June 26, 2021 in connection with the money laundering case. On August 23, ED filed charge sheet against them and also named Vaze, the prime accused in Antilia explosives scare and connected murder of Thane-based car accessories shop owner Mansukh Hiran, as an accused in the same case.