Setting aside a Special PMLA Court order granting former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh 14 days' judicial custody, vacation judge Justice MJ Jamdar of the Bombay High Court on Sunday remanded him back to the Enforcement Directorate for five days. The court was hearing an urgent plea filed by the ED challenging the Special Court Judge PR Sitre's ruling on Saturday. Sitre had declined the agency's plea for extending Deshmukh's custody by nine more days.
Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhri and Aniket Nikam, Deshmukh's lawyers, informed the court that without getting into the merits or maintainability of the ED application they were volunteering cooperation and not shying away from the investigation. Hence, they are not objecting to the further remand, they said.
Additional Solicitor-General Anil Singh and advocate Shreeram Shirsat, the ED's lawyers, argued in the Bombay High Court that they were not granted further custody by the Special PMLA Court. This denied them of sufficient and adequate opportunity to probe the case having serious ramifications and when the investigations are at a crucial state, they added. They had pleaded in the Special PMLA Court for extended custody of nine more days. They claimed that they were unable to procure certain documents owing to the recent public holidays on Diwali. They further added that Deshmukh's replies were evasive and that they needed to confront him with the other accused in the case.
The senior Nationalist Congress Party leader was nabbed early on November 2. He was questioned by the ED for over 13 hours on November 1. He was sent to 4 days custody of the agency on alleged charges of extortion and money-laundering. The case is based on the allegations raised by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh who accused Deshmukh of setting a Rs 100 crore collection target from hoteliers to former aide Sachin Vaze. Vaze, now a dismissed cop, is in custody. Singh is currently missing.