Mumbai: A special court here on Friday granted bail to dismissed police officer Sachin Waze in an alleged money laundering case linked to former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh.
Waze, however, will not walk out of jail as he is an accused in other cases including the bomb scare incident near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence and the subsequent murder of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran.
This was Waze’s second application for bail under section 88 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with cases where an applicant is remanded in judicial custody without having been arrested earlier under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The special judge for PMLA cases, R N Rokade, allowed Waze’s bail application.
Though the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had named Waze as an accused, he was never formally arrested in this case.
Waze, in his bail plea filed through advocates Sajal Yadav and Harsh Gangurde, stated that he was not arrested under the PMLA and hence, the rigour of the Act (under which it is difficult to get bail) will not be applicable to him.
Waze, a former assistant inspector with Mumbai crime branch, also cited the bail granted to Deshmukh by the Bombay High Court as a change in circumstances.
In June this year, Waze had made a plea before the PMLA court to be made an approver (prosecution witness) and the prosecution had consented to it, the application stated.
While granting Waze bail, the court noted that he had not been arrested by the ED.
He cooperated with the probe and the ED did not object to his plea seeking grant of pardon in the case, the court said.
It also considered the fact that Deshmukh has been granted bail by the High Court in the same court.
The court has not yet decided Waze’s application for becoming an approver in the ED case. But in a related case being probed by the CBI, he has been allowed to turn approver.
The ED’s case is that while serving as the state home minister, Deshmukh, a Nationalist Congress Party leader, collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars and restaurants in Mumbai through Waze.
The money was then laundered and routed to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by the Deshmukh family, the central agency claimed.
Deshmukh was arrested by the ED in November 2021 and is currently in jail.
Waze is a key accused in the Antilia bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran murder cases, in which he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in March 2021. He was subsequently dismissed from service.