MUMBAI: With the ED asking former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh to appear before it on Tuesday for questioning in connection with the Rs 100-crore bribery allegation, NCP leaders fear that this could be a “ploy” by the BJP to arrest the senior leader.
This is the second time that the ED has summoned Deshmukh in the last 10 days in the money laundering case related to an alleged multi-crore bribery-cum-extortion racket, that led to his resignation in April.
Earlier Deshmukh had sought more time to appear before the central agency. Maharashtra NCP leaders alleged that the ED’s summons clearly showed the BJP was “misusing” central probe agencies to target opposition leaders.
“BJP wants to set the wrong precedent by arresting the former home minister on false charges. This is nothing but the ploy to topple the Uddhav Thackeray government,” said a senior NCP minister. NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the ED notices are not new for the party. “We will continue to fight the legal battle. We are with Anil Deshmukh and expose the vendetta politics of the BJP.”
But, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil said the Aghadi leaders should not “malign” the image of central probe agencies which are “transparently” probing the case. “If Deshmukh has not done anything wrong, then he and his party leaders should not get afraid,” the BJP leader asserted.