Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal has claimed his signature was forged on an order which supposedly suspended a drug-peddler's sentence. Three officers in the state home ministry have been suspended in this regard, the Bombay High Court was told on Monday.
The order was passed in 2003 during Bhujbal's term as home minister in Congress-NCP government. The beneficiary of the order was one Anil Kothari who was convicted in 2001 for drugs possession and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
He remained out of jail between February 2003 and May 2005 due to an order by the home ministry suspending his sentence.
The matter came to the High Court's notice last year when he filed application of restoration of his appeal against the sentence. His appeal was dismissed by the High Court in 2006 as he had failed to report back to jail after his release on parole in November 2002.
In April this year, he was arrested in Delhi for possession of 151 kg of hashish. Currently, he is in judicial custody in Tihar jail.
When his application came up before the High Court, judges were surprised to learn that he remained out on parole for over two years.
The Court was informed that his sentence had been suspended on the (then) home minister's orders. But today, public prosecutor Satish Borulkar told a division bench of Justices Bilal Nazki and Anup Mohta that Bhujbal has denied the signature on the order.