Bombay high court rejects bail plea of Iqbal Mirchi’s aide Humayun MerchantUpdated: Sep 16, 2020 23:26 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday rejected the bail application of gangster Iqbal Mirchi’s close aide Humayun Merchant. Merchant, who has been lodged in Taloja jail since his arrest in October 2019, had approached the HC for bail on medical grounds after the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court rejected his bail application twice.
Earlier in May, the HC had dismissed a petition by Merchant wherein he had challenged the decision of the high-power committee (HPC) to exclude undertrials and convicts arrested and sentenced for serious economic offences. After his petition was dismissed, Merchant, who is over 70 years of age and suffers from various ailments, moved for bail on medical grounds.
The bench of justice Bharati Dangre while hearing Merchant’s bail plea, which was filed immediately after the special PMLA court denied him bail for a second time in February, was informed that his continued detention was against the doctrine ‘bail is rule, jail an exception’, and hence he should be granted bail.
While seeking bail in HC, Merchant had submitted that his detention was unsolicited and added that due to his health condition and the rising Covid-19 cases in jails, he should be granted bail.
ED, however, opposed the plea alleging that Merchant had “planted” tenants to purportedly usurp three immovable properties — Sea View, Marium Lodge and Rabia Mansion in Worli — belonging to Sir Mohammad Yusuf Trust. It also had also alleged that Merchant then facilitated the deal to develop these buildings. The probing agency had also submitted that as all health-related issues of inmates were being taken care of by jail authorities, he should not be granted bail.
The bench accepted the submissions and rejected the bail application.
In October 2019, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Merchant while investigating the property dealings of late gangster Iqbal Mirchi — a close aide of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim — in a money-laundering case. ED termed him a “frontman” who was given the power of attorney by Mirchi after the latter fled the country.