Bombay HC turns down Bhujbal’s bail application
The Bombay high court on Tuesday refused to consider former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s plea to be released on bail in an alleged money laundering case after his petition challenging the validity of two sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2016 23:38 IST
The Bombay high court on Tuesday refused to consider former minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s bail plea after he challenged the validity of two sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) slapped against him in a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“We are not inclined to consider any of your prayer for interim relief,” the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak told the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader’s counsel. The bench, however, clarified that the former minister was free to file a regular bail application before the appropriate court.
Bhujbal, who has been booked along with 54 other individuals and 24 firms in an alleged money laundering case, has sought his liberty on the grounds that he was illegally arrested by the ED. The court has now directed ED to file its reply within four weeks and scheduled the next hearing for after six weeks.
ED has registered a case against Bhujbal, a few of his family members and some contractors, for alleged corruption while awarding contracts for construction of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi and the new RTO office at Bandra. According to investigating officers, from 2006 onwards, the Bhujbals and their associates laundered huge sums — while Chhagan Bhujbal allegedly laundered Rs 291.71 crore, his nephew Sameer and son Pankaj have accused of swindling Rs359.30 crore each. ED believes that the former minister masterminded the scam dating back to 1998, when he was the then deputy chief minister.
“He devised the entire methodology and scheme of things to defraud the state government by conceptualising and implementing a scheme whereby the contract for construction of Maharashtra Sadan and RTO office was awarded to KS Chamankar Enterprises by misusing his official position and authority,” states the ED complaint.