Anil Deshmukh’s office is raided by the IT department, and the armed CRPF protects the intruding teams.

Nagpur: After CBI and ED, the income tax (IT) department swooped down on former state home minister Anil Deshmukh’s premises in Nagpur, Pune and Mumbai on Friday.Teams of the investigation wing of the department raided the premises related to Deshmukh, including his bungalow at Civil Lines. The operations in Nagpur began between 10 and 11am, and covered a number of locations like the offices of Nagpur Institute of Technology (NIT) headed by Deshmukh, and places at his constituency Katol.Office premises and the home of his chartered accountant Kishore Dewani too were raided. One more chartered accountant of Ramdaspeth connected to Deshmukh was questioned, said sources.The team also went to flat no. 702 at the upmarket Rachana Galaxy Apartments at Shankar Nagar. This flat has been in the news in earlier cases related to Deshmukh including, the Adarsh flats scam investigations in 2011-12.Premises were searched in Pune and Mumbai in relation to the same case, said sources.Director (investigation) at Nagpur SS Parida, whose office coordinated Friday’s action by 130 officers from various cities, refused to comment since the search was still underway. There was no response from Anil Deshmukh’s office for an official comment, with no confirmation of his whereabouts.This is the first income tax raid after Covid. Parida took over as director investigation around a week ago.Dewani had been covered by the ED raid also. His statement was recorded by ED in relation to ownership of land worth Rs300 crore in Uran purchased from villagers in cash. It is alleged that the land deal was routed through a shell company — Premier Port Links Private Limited. Dewani is one of the directors in this company. The other director is Umesh Agrawal.In a departure from regular practice, the raiding party was escorted by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel armed with automatic weapons. Sources, including tax practitioners and income tax insiders, said though police escort is used regularly, CRPF personnel are rarely seen in such actions.At Rachana Galaxy, one of locations covered in the raid, one of the security personnel held a 5.56 Insas rifle, where the transparent magazine showed it was loaded. Another held an assault rifle of Kalashnikov make. Sources said even otherwise armed policemen escort the party but security arrangements were rather unusual this time.The flat at no. 702 Rachana Galaxy covered in the raid is learnt to be owned by a person in Pune. Neighbours said no one lives here currently. A shell company allegedly used to fund the purchase of a flat at Adarsh Apartments in Colaba, Mumbai, was traced to this apartment. Later, it was found to be the address of Aroma Production Private Limited in a GST evasion case.The IT search follows filing of chargesheet by ED and the arrest of Deshmukh’s lawyer Anand Daga recently. A photographer working for Deshmukh’s educational and social organizations was also questioned during the raid, sources said.

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