Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh is on the run since July 16 in a mysterious way. On 20th of July, Deshmuk happeared in a video, shot at an unknown location and conveyed a message through the video. The message said that he had challenged the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) notices over the Rs 100 crore monthly bribery case in the Supreme Court. He added that he would soon appear before the central agency.
As Deshmukh has been evading the ED’s notices and has not appeared for questioning, the agency has a warrant out for his arrest. His property in Mumbai including a flat worth Rs 4.2 crores was seized and sealed on July 16th. Deshmukh has been untraceable since the incident.
Moreover, another reason for him to go AWOL is that the NCP has abandoned him.Despite the fact that Anil Deshmukh is a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party and has served as the Minister of Home Affairs in the Government of Maharashtra between 2019 and 2021, not even a single prominent leader from the party stepped in to defend him.
Earlier this year, Deshmukh stood accused of instructing Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, to collect Rs 100 crore every month from bar and restaurant owners in Mumbai. Waze was suspended for 17 years in the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus in 2004 but was reinstated in June 2020. In March 2021, he was arrested and suspended again for his involvement in the Antilia bomb scare.
Deshmukh was also involved in the Antilla bomb scare. The Antilia bomb scare refers to an incident threatening the Ambanis using a car containing 20 unarmed explosive gelatin sticks and a note addressing that there is more to come. Later, ParamBir Singh, Mumbai Police Commissioner claimed that Vaze was extorting at the behest of the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),as per the instructions of Bombay High Court, has also been investigating the bribery case. The CBI raised several questions including who reinstated Vaze in August 2020 after he was suspended from service 16 years ago.
On July 20, the order came in CBI’s favor and turned out to be a big embarrassment for Deshmukh as he was steering the home department when Vaze was reinstated by Param Bir Singh, the then Mumbai Police commissioner. “The investigating agency can legitimately investigate the transfers and postings connected to Anil Deshmukh and his associates,” the HC had ruled.
In a nutshell, the accusations on Former Home Minister include; exercising undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials, instructions to some police officers to collect Rs100 crore every month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai and the Antilia bomb scare.
Refuting the above claims, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar reiterated that they will not seek Deshmukh’s resignation over the controversy and back the minister. He stressed the allegations were made to divert attention from the bomb scare case.
But, BJP left no stone unturned to create pressure on Deshmukh which ultimately lead him to resign. With this unbearable pressure and so many cases on him, he has to ultimately go AWOL.
As of now, the police as well as the ED along with the CBI, all are looking for Deshmukh. The ex-home minister is running out of options and has nowhere to escape. All he can do is appear before the Supreme Court seeking anticipatory bail or surrender before the ED and CBI.