Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh did not appear before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case on Tuesday, citing COVID-19 and his old age, and requested for a virtual interaction on a day suitable for the central agency.
The Enforcement Directorate had asked the 71-year-old Nationalist Congress Party leader to appear before it at 11 am on Tuesday, after he did not depose before the investigating officer here on Saturday.
Deshmukh had on Saturday sought a fresh date for appearance in the money laundering case related to an alleged multi-crore bribery-cum-extortion racket that led to his resignation from the post of home minister in April this year.
On Tuesday, Deshmukh submitted a letter to the agency through his lawyer Inderpal Singh as authorised representative, in compliance with the summons.
In the letter, Deshmukh requested for a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report and other documents from the ED.
"I am a law abiding citizen. I am sanguine to expose the falsity, hollowness and lack of substance in the allegations levelled against me," he said in the letter.
Deshmukh also cited COVID-19 times and the fear of exposure (to the infection) due to his age and co-morbidities and sent his lawyer as the authorised representative.
"I am a septuagenarian, about 72 year of age, and suffering from various co-morbidities, including hypertension and cardiac problems," he mentioned in the letter.
Deshmukh also said he already had a long interaction with the probe agency officials on June 25, spanning over several hours, during the course of search and recording of his statement.
He reiterated that he will furnish all information and any document that the ED may require once he is aware of the content and details of the ECIR.
"I am at your disposal through any audio-visual mode of interaction at any time convenient to your good self, today or any other day, any time so convenient," Deshmukh said in the letter.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh's lawyer told mediapersons that they were cooperating with the probe agency and will continue to do so in future too.
"We are providing documents to them and have requested for a new date (for appearance)," said the lawyer.
After receiving the required documents from ED officials, Deshmukh will appear before the agency, he said.
The ED on Saturday arrested Deshmukh's personal secretary Sanjeev Palande (51) and personal assistant Kundan Shinde after it carried out raids against them and the NCP leader in Mumbai and Nagpur on Friday.
The ED's case against Deshmukh and others was made out after the Central Bureau of Investigation first carried out a preliminary enquiry followed by a regular case being filed on the orders of the Bombay High Court.
The court had asked the CBI to look into the allegations of bribery made against Deshmukh by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Deshmukh, who resigned from his post in April following the allegations, has denied any wrongdoing.