NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday refused to grant interim relief to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh who was seeking protection from any coercive action in connection with a money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) A three-judge bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said Desmukh is at liberty to access remedies available to him under the law.
"We are not inclined to grant any interim relief," said the bench, also comprising justices Krishna Murari and V Ramasubramanian.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Deshmukh told the bench that this is a classic case of "political witch-hunt".
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said there are serious allegations of money laundering in the case.
"You take recourse to remedies which are available to you under the law," the bench told Deshmukh's counsel.
The top court was hearing a batch of pleas, including those challenging the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ED had earlier issued summons to the 71-year-old NCP leader in connection with a criminal case registered under the PMLA related to an alleged Rs 100 crore bribery-cum-extortion racket that led to Deshmukh's resignation in April this year.
The ED case against Deshmukh and others was registered after the CBI had lodged a corruption case related to allegations of at least Rs 100 crore bribery made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after he was removed from the police commissioner's post, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked suspended Mumbai Police assistant police inspector Sachin Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Deshmukh had to resign from his post in April following the allegations and he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The ED had arrested Deshmukh's personal secretary and personal assistant after it carried out raids against them and the NCP leader in Mumbai and Nagpur.