Maharashtra minister Anil Parab refuses to appear before ED, seeks 14 days time

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab on Tuesday did not appear before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case, and instead sought two weeks’ time.

The ED had, the day before, issued a summons to Parab, directing him to appear before its south Mumbai office on Tuesday for questioning in connection with the money laundering case registered against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh.

Parab on Tuesday wrote a letter to the ED through his lawyer Shardul Singh, seeking two weeks’ time to appear citing prior commitments.

The Sena leader also sought details of the probe and “the point of investigation” which necessitated the issuance of summons.

“The notice of ED is quite vague. I was expecting the notice but it neither mentioned any particular case nor gave any reason why I should be questioned. Therefore, along with 14 days time, I wish to get clarity over the content of the notice,” Sena minister said, adding that he is also seeking more legal advice over this notice.

The ED issued summons to Parab days after he was accused of ordering state police to arrest Union minister Narayan Rane for a statement against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The ED began a probe against Anil Deshmukh after the CBI registered a corruption case against the NCP leader on the basis of allegations made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

Singh had accused Deshmukh of asking police officials to collect Rs 100 crore a month from hotel and bar owners in Mumbai.

Deshmukh, who has skipped ED summons at least five times so far, claimed that Singh made the allegations after he was removed from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner.

The ED is expected to question Parab about the statements of jailed police officer (and another accused in the case against Deshmukh) Sachin Waze.

Waze was arrested by the NIA in March this year in the case of recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near the Mumbai house of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.

Waze had earlier alleged in a letter — which he sought to submit before a court — that in January 2021 Parab asked him to look into inquiry against “fraudulent” contractors listed by the Mumbai civic body BMC, and “collect” at least Rs 2 crore each from about 50 such contractors.

Meanwhile, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil said Parab should have appeared before the ED on Tuesday. The Shiv Sena should respect the central probe agencies by appearing before them on said dates. “Common people always respond to the notices by appearing before the probe agency. They can be arrested if they fail to do. Since Parab is a minister, he can afford to seek more time. It will send the wrong message.”