MUMBAI: Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab appeared before the Enforcement Directorate here on Tuesday in connection with a money laundering case registered against former state minister Anil Deshmukh and others, an official said.
The ED had on Saturday issued summons for the second time to Parab (56), who also holds the parliamentary affairs portfolio in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, for questioning in the case.
He was asked to appear before at the ED’s office in Ballard Estate area of south Mumbai on Tuesday. Accordingly, the minister reached the probe agency’s office around 11 am, the official said. There was heavy police deployment outside the ED office, he said.
Before leaving for the probe agency’s office, Parab told reporters that will fully co-operate with the ED in its probe into the case. “I am appearing before ED officials today, though I am still unaware for what purpose they have called me. I swear by my daughters and late Shiv Sena supremo (Balasaheb Thackeray) that I have not done anything wrong, so I am going to the ED office,” the minister said.
“I will co-operate in the inquiry and answer the questions of ED officials,” he added. The three-term Shiv Sena MLA was first summoned by the agency to depose on August 31, which he had declined citing official engagements and had sought more time.
Parab is to be questioned in the money laundering case being investigated against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh after certain “disclosures” have been made by other accused and those involved in the case, officials earlier said.
The summons pertain to the criminal investigation being carried out by the ED in the alleged Rs 100 crore bribery-cum-extortion racket in the Maharashtra police establishment that led to Deshmukh’s resignation in April.
The ED case against Deshmukh, who was earlier the home minister in the MVA government, and others came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked him in the corruption case related to allegations of at least Rs 100 crore bribe made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Deshmukh, who has skipped the ED summons at least five times till now and moved court against the agency, had said Singh made the allegations against him after he was removed from the post of Mumbai police commissioner.
The ED may question Parab about the statements it has twice recorded of former police officer Sachin Waze.
Waze, arrested by the NIA in the case of recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in Mumbai, had earlier alleged in a letter he sought to submit before a court that in January 2021, Parab asked him to look into an inquiry against “fraudulent” contractors listed in the Mumbai civic body and “collect” at least Rs 2 crore from about 50 such contractors.
Parab had then rejected Waze’s claims and said he was ready to face any probe into the allegations.