INDIA. Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh was granted bail by Justice M. S. Karnik of the Bombay High Court in a corruption case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday.
The NCP leader was detained by authorities after being taken into prison on November 2, 2021. In order to undergo coronary angiography, he was hospitalised to a private hospital in October.
After being held in detention for a year due to the corruption case and related money laundering case, he will now be released from prison. He is unlikely to be released from prison, though, as the CBI has asked for more time to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.
Justice MS Karnik reserved the plea on December 8, and on Monday, she announced the decision. On a bond and surety of Rs. 1 lakh, bail is granted. The 74-year-old leader is being held in Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison.
Deshmukh is the subject of two inquiries into the same claim, one by the CBI for a corruption offence and the other by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for a money laundering offence in violation of the Prevention of Money-laundering Act 2002. (PMLA).
In the case involving the money laundering, the Bombay High Court allowed the bail of Deshmukh on October 4. He made an appeal before the High Court just after the special court in the CBI case rejected his bail.
Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhari and Advocate Aniket Nikam, appearing for Deshmukh, contended that since both cases are connected and since he was granted bail in the ED case, he ought to be granted bail in the CBI case. Chaudhari contended that Deshmukh has spent over a year incarcerated, for allegedly committing an offence that was punishable by up to 7 years of imprisonment.
He also informed the court that the dismissed assistant inspector Sachin Waze had been made an approver in CBI’s case. However, the High Court had raised doubt over the veracity of Waze’s statements while granting bail to Deshmukh in the ED case.
The CBI’s additional solicitor general, Anil Singh, countered the claim, citing the minister had engaged in high-level corruption that had a negative impact on state government. He further argued that the granting of bail in the corruption case could not be justified by the precedent set by bail granted in a money laundering case.
Deshmukh was jailed last year amid allegations against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. Singh had accused Deshmukh of trying to extort money from bar owners in Mumbai through some police officials, including Waze.
Waze arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), is the prime accused in the Antilia explosives scare case. Waze was also allegedly connected to the murder of Thane-based car accessory shop owner Mansukh Hiran.