My arrest and detention were illegal: Chhagan Bhujbal tells Bombay high court
Senior advocate Vikram Choudhari, who represented the NCP leader, submitted the Criminal Procedure Code lays down procedure for arrest of offenders and investigation of criminal casesmumbai Updated: Nov 23, 2016 09:30 IST
Former public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Tuesday contended before the Bombay high court that his detention by the enforcement directorate (ED) and subsequent arrest on March 14 was illegal, as the agency has not complied with the mandatory procedure.
Senior advocate Vikram Choudhari, who represented the NCP leader, submitted the Criminal Procedure Code lays down procedure for arrest of offenders and investigation of criminal cases. He said an investigation begins with registration of a first information report (FIR), but the ED investigation was being carried out without any FIR.
The enforcement case information report registered by the ED is not an equivalent to an FIR, as it neither a public document nor is it submitted to the court within 24 hours of its registration, as is done in case of an FIR, Choudhari said. According to the senior advocate, the ED has not followed any procedure as is mandatorily required to be followed under CrPC for carrying out investigation.
He pointed out a ruling of the Supreme Court which held violation of mandatory procedure laid down under CrPC a violation of right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh responded to the petition raising a preliminary objection that Bhujbal was arrested on March 14, and was produced in a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court next day, thus making his detention illegal.
Choudhari responded to the objection by pointing out the Apex Court’s ruling in Madhu Limaye’s case holding where the arrest is illegal for violation of constitutional mandate, no subsequent remand orders can cure the defect.
The ED has registered a case against Bhujbal and others for alleged corruption in the construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi and RTO office at Bandra. According to the agency, from 2006, the Bhujbal, some of his family members and their associates laundered huge sum of money. The agency claimed Bhujbal laundered Rs291.71 crore, while his nephew Sameer and son Pankaj laundered Rs359.30 crore each.
The division bench of justice Ranjit More and justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi has now posted Bhujbal’s plea for hearing on Wednesday.