The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, over eleven months after he was arrested in connection with a money laundering case, Bar and Bench reported.
The bail order pertains to the case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate. However, the Nationalist Congress Party leader will remain in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Prison on account of a related corruption case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The High Court stayed its order till October 13 to enable the Enforcement Directorate to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
The court directed Deshmukh to furnish a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh and a surety of the same amount, according to Live Law.
Justice NJ Jamadar had reserved his order on September 28 after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence. On September 26, the Supreme Court had told the High Court to decide on Deshmukh’s bail plea by the end of the week.
The Supreme Court had noted that the Nationalist Congress Party leader’s bail petition was pending since March 21.
“Any person who has filed a bail application has a legitimate expectation that his plea will be disposed of at an early date,” a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud had noted. “Keeping an application for bail pending for eight months is not consistent with the Right to Life under Article 21.”
Deshmukh was taken into custody in November after the Enforcement Directorate had booked him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The central agency began an investigation against the Nationalist Congress Party leader after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had accused him of coercing police officers to extort money from the owners of bars and restaurants in the city.
Deshmukh’s lawyers Vikram Chaudhari and Aniket Nikam argued that he should be given bail keeping in mind his age, health and the fact that he had no criminal antecedents, PTI reported. The former Maharashtra home minister is 72 years old.
On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the Enforcement Directorate, told the court that the Nationalist Congress Party leader did not suffer from any ailments that could not be treated at the jail hospital.
While Deshmukh denied the allegations against him, he had resigned from the Maharashtra Cabinet on April 5, 2021, after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary inquiry against him.
On September 28, the Central Bureau of Investigation told a special court in Mumbai that it has obtained sanction from the Maharashtra government to prosecute Deshmukh in the case.