MUMBAI: Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh's questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case continued beyond midnight on Monday, November 1, 2021.
Deshmukh reached the ED office in south Mumbai at around 11.50 am along with his lawyer.
The 71-year-old NCP leader was still inside the central agency office as of midnight.
The federal probe agency is recording his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the criminal investigation being carried out by it in the alleged Rs 100 crore bribery-cum-extortion racket in the Maharashtra Police establishment that led to Deshmukh's resignation in April, officials said.
ED joint director Satyavrat Kumar was seen entering the agency's office along with some other officers at around 9 pm.
The former minister had skipped at least four summonses issued by the ED in the case, but after the Bombay High Court last week refused to quash them, he appeared before the agency.
The ED's case against Deshmukh and others came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked him in a corruption case related to allegations levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The NCP leader has rejected all allegations against him.
The politician has said Singh made the allegations against him after he was removed from the post of Mumbai police commissioner in March this year.
Earlier in the day, Deshmukh claimed a false narrative was being created by "vested interests' that he was avoiding appearance before the ED.
In a statement released after he entered the ED office, Deshmukh claimed a "witch-hunt" has been launched at the instance of certain "inimical interests", by people who have absolutely no credibility, honour or pride.
The NCP leader further said he has only sought a transparent, fair and an objective probe without any fear or favour.
Slamming Singh without taking his name, Deshmukh said "unscrupulous persons" are themselves knee-deep involved in several rackets of corruption.
"The principal person who held the high office of Commissioner of Police is now a wanted absconding criminal," Deshmukh said.
On Sunday, the CBI took into custody one Santosh Jagtap in connection with the case of alleged corruption against Deshmukh, making it the first arrest in the high-profile case, officials earlier said.
The agency arrested Jagtap, an alleged middleman, from Thane, they said, adding the accused was evading the probe even after the issuance of non-bailable warrants against him last month.