Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday reserved its judgment on the bail plea of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case.
A single-judge bench of Justice N J Jamadar closed the plea for orders after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, appearing for ED, completed his arguments against the bail plea.
The judge stated the court will try to deliver a judgement as soon as possible.
The HC began hearing the bail plea on Tuesday following directions from the Supreme Court to hear and decide the same expeditiously as it was pending for the last six months.
Court reserves order on bail of Jacqueline Fernandez, asks ED why it has not arrested actor yet despite LOC
Referring to Deshmukh’s move to approach the apex court whenever there is a delay in the bail plea hearing, Justice Jamadar told the NCP leader’s counsel Vikram Chaudhari that the plea could have been mentioned for early hearing here.
Chaudhari explained that their grievance was not against the high court but against ED officers who sought long adjournments.
Opposing the bail plea, ASG Singh claimed that Deshmukh was accused of serious offences of corruption, the misuse of official position, and money laundering.
“The economic offence is serious and it affects the financial strength of the country. So the court will have to say that the accused is not at all involved,” Singh said.
Refuting the demand of Deshmukh’s advocates that he should have been released on bail considering his medical conditions and age, Singh said the former minister did not suffer from any ailment that cannot be treated at the prison hospital.
“It is not his case that as and when required we have not taken him to hospital. Nowadays, everyone has age-related problems and there are many such inmates in jail but the court will have to consider if that can be a ground for bail,” Singh said.
Chaudhari argued that the ED’s probe in the case was never-ending.
“Whenever someone points to gaps in their case, they fill up the gaps by recording statements,” he said.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Justice Jamadar said, “Will close it and will try to deliver judgement as soon as possible.” Deshmukh is currently in judicial custody following his arrest by the ED last November in a money laundering case.
The federal anti-money laundering agency registered the case against Deshmukh and others after the CBI booked him in a corruption case related to the allegations of extortion levelled by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The ED claimed that Deshmukh misused his official position as the home minister and collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars in Mumbai.
The money was laundered to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by the Deshmukh family, it alleged.