Money laundering case: Anil Deshmukh, family created complex web of firms, says ED

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The prosecution complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that Deshmukh, with the help of his family members and close associates, created a "complex web of companies" and ran various businesses.

These businesses include warehousing, logistics and transportation, Real Estate, hotel and restaurants, trading of goods and many more.

Apart from these, there are various other companies not in active business, the ED said.

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The ED further said 13 companies are directly owned by the family members of Anil Deshmukh. Besides, there are 13 companies in the names of close associates of the Deshmukh family. His family also has substantial control over some companies, the ED said.

"The Deshmukh family have created a complex web of companies in which suspicious transactions had taken place. Further, unaccounted money had been infused in one of the companies controlled by the Deshmukh family and then, the same had been rotated into other companies for expanding the business empire of the Deshmukh family. In this matter, an investigation is under progress," the ED said.

The prosecution complaint (equivalent to a charge sheet) filed by the ED is against 14 accused and companies, including former Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze and Anil Deshmukh's personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde. Anil Deshmukh himself is not named in the prosecution complaint.

The charge sheet has statements of various bar owners who claimed that Sachin Vaze was collecting money from them for higher-ups.

Moreover, Sachin Vaze's statement recorded by the ED states how Anil Deshmukh asked to collect money and hand it over to Shinde and Palande.

Anil Deshmukh's son Hrishikesh involved

The chargesheet also mentions the statement of a witness who said Anil Deshmukh's son Hrishikesh, who was looking after the affairs of the trust Shri Sai Sikshan Sanstha, was looking for a person who would donate to the trust in lieu of cash.

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Two accused in the case -- Virendra and Surendra Jain -- who the witness knew, were already involved in this.

According to the witness, a commission fee of 1-1.5 per cent was agreed upon for each transaction. Hrishikesh Deshmukh used to convey the amount of donation, the witness told the ED.

How money flowed from one company to another

Through flow diagrams, the financial probe agency showed how money was flowing from one company to another.

The cash used to be transferred to Delhi through Hawala operations which were handled by Hrishikesh. Hawala operators used to charge a commission of 1 per cent. Upon receiving the cash, the Jains used to provide donations through their companies to trust.

With this, the ED tried to show that three steps of money laundering -- Placement, Layering and Integration -- were completed by the accused.

Placement was when Sachin Vaze collected money from bars. Layering was when this money from Anil Deshmukh was transferred in cash to accused Jains and Integration was when the Jains transferred money to the trust.

ED attaches immovable properties of Anil Deshmukh

The ED has provisionally attached immovable properties worth Rs 4,22,00,691. This includes Anil Deshmukh's residence in Mumbai and a flat on the tenth floor of Sukhda Housing Society in Worli which is registered in Deshmukh's wife Aarti's name.

The payment was done in cash for the house and the agency believes that it is a "benami" property of Anil Deshmukh's family as Aarti has no known source of income.

The other property is of 25 agricultural land parcels located in Dhutum Village in Raigarh District held in the name of a company Premier Port Links Pvt. Ltd.

According to the agency, the Deshmukhs merely paid an amount of Rs 17.95 lakh and became 50 per cent shareholders in Premier Port Links -- which is having asset worth book value of Rs.5,34,52,847.40/- including 20 acres of land (book value-Rs.4,05,15,807/-) located in Dhutum village, Uran, Mumbai.

Therefore, Anil Deshmukh, with the help of his sons Salil Deshmukh and Hrishikesh Deshmukh, created assets worth approximately Rs 2.7 crore (book value) by merely investing Rs 17.95 lakh in Premier Port, the ED said.

The ED further said it has summoned the Deshmukhs at least four times but they had failed to appear before the agency and therefore, the investigation against "Anil Deshmukh, Hrishikesh and other family members of the Deshmukh family is pending and their role shall be finalised when the investigation is completed in an effective manner," said the ED.

"Further, while analysing the balance sheet and accounts of various companies controlled by the Deshmukh family, it has emerged that various unsecured loans were given within the web of the companies without any agreement or any rationale. This angle is also being investigated from a money laundering aspect," the ED said.

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