Maha Congress questions ED’s ‘one-sided’ probe against Anil Deshmukh

Mumbai: A day after the ED attached properties worth Rs 4.21 crore belonging to ex-Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s family, the state Congress on Saturday slammed the move, terming it as a ‘one-sided probe’ and part of vendetta unleashed by the BJP at the Centre to target the Maha Vikas Aghadi and other opposition governments.

Questioning the ED’s motives, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant asked why the agency has not yet arrested the bar owners who allegedly paid the bribe to Deshmukh, as claimed in a letter penned by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh.

On the ED’s contention that it is investigating a land worth Rs 300 crore in Raigad belonging to Anil Deshmukh’s company, Sawant said it was purchased in 2005 when the plot value was Rs 2.67 crore so why the ED didn’t act then.

Referring to the price of a flat in Worli confiscated by the ED in 2004, he said when the payment for it was already made in 2004, why it is being linked to the alleged corruption cases now.

“How can the ED act on these old deals now and try to portray as if it is from the proceeds of the alleged corruption money? The ED’s probe is totally one-sided. We seek answer from them,” Sawant said.

Accusing the ED of leaking out information selectively to certain media outlets without confirming or denying them, the Congress leader demanded to know that if Singh was aware that his junior officer Sachin Vaze was told to collect Rs 100 crore, why didn’t he speak or act at that time, and why the ED has still not acted against him.

“This is the same strategy that the Narendra Modi-led government has deployed since the past seven years — misusing the official probe agencies against opposition-ruled states, discrediting and destabilising them,” Sawant said.

In the current matter, the ED is using the same modus operandi as in the case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput — spreading falsehoods or rumours through certain media outlets and then never confirming or denying them, he said.

Sawant’s statement came after the ED provisionally attached assets worth Rs 4.21 crore reportedly owned by Deshmukh’s wife, Aarti Deshmukh, and a company, Premier Port Links Pvt. Ltd.