Bhosari land deal: No coercive action against NCP leader Eknath Khadse till Monday, says ED
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday assured the Bombay high court (HC) that it would not take any coercive action against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse till January 25.
The assurance came in response to an application filed by Khadse to quash the enforcement case information report (ECIR) registered by ED against him in connection with the Bhosari (Pune) land deal case.
The controversy pertains to the purchase of a plot in Bhosari, near Pune, by Khadse’s kin for ₹3.75 crore, against the prevalent market rate of ₹30 crore. The plot’s ownership was contentious as the industries department acquired it in 1971, but the final award of the plot was not granted and the owner had not been compensated for it.
HC has now posted Khadse’s application for further hearing on January 25.
The court had sought to know why ED could not desist from taking action against Khadse for a few days as he had already appeared before ED concerning the case.
During the hearing, the division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice Manish Pitale was informed by senior counsel Aabad Ponda that Khadse had been attending the ED office and cooperating in the investigation as and when he was called for interrogation. He further said that in light of that, there was no need for Khadse’s arrest as ED had also not raised any grievance.
Apart from quashing the ECIR, Khadse has also sought that his interrogation is recorded and filmed, and a lawyer is present at a visible distance during his questioning.
After hearing the submissions, the court sought to know from ED as to why no interim protection should be granted to Khadse when the central agency opposed the prayer. “Why interim protection cannot be given if he has appeared and attended? What heavens are going to fall if he is given protection for a few days?” the court said.
The bench then observed that the judiciary, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and agencies like ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are independent and should act independently and impartially. “There is a threat to democracy if these agencies don’t act independently,” observed justice Shinde.
Thereafter, ED, through additional solicitor general Anil Singh, informed the court on instructions that no coercive action would be taken against Khadse till the next hearing, which the court accepted, and posted the plea for further hearing on January 25.