MUMBAI: Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh's wife has moved the Bombay High Court challenging the provisional attachment of their assets by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case.
The plea by Aarti Deshmukh was mentioned for an urgent hearing on Monday by senior counsel Vikram Chaudhri before a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar, which later said it will hear the petition only next month.
Chaudhri sought that the plea be heard urgently as the adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), under which Anil Deshmukh has been booked, was likely to pass an order vetting such provisional attachment of the former minister's assets on December 9.
Chaudhri told the bench that while he was not opposed to the adjudicating authority hearing the issue of provisional attachment of Anil Deshmukh's assets, the said authority was not functioning as mandated by law.
He said while the law mandated that the adjudicating authority under the PMLA include a chairperson and two members, at least one of whom had a background in law, it presently comprises just a single member. However, the bench said that it will hear the plea in January.
But it added that while the adjudicating authority may complete the hearing, it must not pass any final order till the HC heard the plea. "There are serious questions of the appropriateness of the authority in question. We propose to hear it at some length and dispose off petitions at ad-interim stage," the HC said while posting the matter for further hearing on January 14.
Earlier this year, the ED provisionally attached assets worth over Rs four crore belonging to Anil Deshmukh (72) and his family.
The ED had initiated a probe against the NCP leader after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed an FIR against the former minister following a preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption and official misconduct made against him by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The former minister, who resigned from the state cabinet in April, has denied any wrongdoing.