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Deshmukh’s secretary moves Bombay HC, questions validity of his arrest by ED

Sanjeev Palande, who was arrested June 26 by the ED – alleging his role in money laundering in connivance with Deshmukh – has questioned the validity of provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act under which he has been booked.

The personal secretary of former state home minister Anil Deshmukh on Friday approached the Bombay High Court questioning the validity of his arrest and seeking quashing of the complaint filed against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Sanjeev Palande, who was arrested June 26 by the ED – alleging his role in money laundering in connivance with Deshmukh – has questioned the validity of provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act under which he has been booked.

The petition filed in HC stated that there is no prima facie proof against him and that the predicate offence registered by the CBI – based on which the ED filed its complaint – makes no allegation against him. It added that the investigation of money laundering requires the existence of proceeds of crime, which is not shown in this case, calling the complaint ‘baseless”.

Palande further claimed that he was appointed as Deshmukh’s secretary last January by an official order of the state government and that he has a spotless record. He added that he was assigned to arrange meetings for the minister, attend to visitors, including MLAs and MLCs, and denied any wrongdoing.

The petition also said that while the CBI had begun its probe based on a HC order, allegations made through statements of dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze could not be considered, as he himself is under investigation in the Ambani terror scare case. Waze has claimed that he was asked to collect bribes on behalf of Deshmukh from bar owners.

Palande’s plea stated that the claims made in ED’s remand plea against him are based on “hearsay” allegations made by a “tainted official”. The petition added that ED acted “arbitrarily” and “only with intention to further disrupt the working of the state government to satisfy political motives and defame the concerned persons”.

The ED had last month filed its prosecution complaint against Palande and Deshmukh’s personal assistant Kundan Shinde. It had earlier said that money collected from bar owners was routed through four shell companies in Delhi to Deshmukh’s charitable trust. The petition is likely to be heard next week.

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