Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh approached a special court here on Tuesday, seeking default bail in connection with a money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate.
Deshmukh was arrested by the ED on November 2, 2021 and is currently in judicial custody. In his plea filed through advocate Aniket Nikam, Deshmukh said the special court had not taken cognisance of the prosecution complaint (charge sheet) filed by the ED before remanding him to further judicial custody. Deshmukh pointed out that he has been in custody for 60 days and since the court has not yet taken cognisance of the charge sheet, he should be granted default bail under the provisions of Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
As per Section 167 of the CrPC, if a charge sheet is not filed and its cognisance is not taken within 60 days from a person's arrest, then he/she can seek default bail. Deshmukh in his application claimed that on December 29, 2021, the ED in a “surreptitious manner”, without informing the court that the statutory period of 60 days expires on January 1, 2022, obtained his further judicial custody till January 9, 2022.
“As per provisions of law, if on the expiry of the said period of 60 days, investigation is not complete and cognisance of the charge sheet is not taken, an indefeasible right of statutory bail accrues to the accused,” the application said. The applicant (Deshmukh) was ready and willing to furnish bail/surety to the satisfaction of the court, it added.
The special court, designated to hear cases under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), is likely to take up Deshmukh's bail plea for hearing on Wednesday. The ED had on December 29, 2021 filed a 7,000-page supplementary charge sheet against Deshmukh and his sons.
The agency had earlier filed a charge sheet against 14 people, including Deshmukh's private secretary (an additional collector-rank officer) Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde. The Enforcement Directorate had launched a probe against Deshmukh and others after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR against the senior NCP leader in April 2021 on charges of corruption and misuse of official position.
The ED's case is that while serving as state home minister, Deshmukh allegedly misused his official position and through dismissed cop Sachin Waze, who is behind bars in the 'Antilia' bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran killing cases, collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars in Mumbai. As per the prosecution, Deshmukh and his family members owned several companies which were used to launder the money. Deshmukh, who resigned from the post of state home minister in April 2021, has repeatedly denied the charges against him.
-With PTI Inputs