INDIA. Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh walked out of the Arthur Road Jail on Wednesday after the Bombay High Court refused to extend the stay on bail granted to him earlier in a corruption case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On Tuesday, the vacation court of Justice SG Chapalgaonkar refused to grant a further extension to the stay on bail granted to Deshmukh by Justice M S Karnik on December 12.
Justice M S Karnik stated that the order to release Deshmukh would be effective after ten days to enable the CBI to file an appeal against the order. The said 10-day period ended on December 21. However, based on the CBI’s request, the High Court, on December 21, extended the stay till December 27.
Deshmukh is embroiled in two investigations arising from the same allegation – one by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the offence of corruption and the other by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the offence of money laundering.
On release, Deshmukh was accorded a grand welcome by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders and workers who were waiting outside the jail. They accompanied him to the Siddhivinayak Temple, his first stop, before heading for his home in Worli in South Mumbai.
Deshmukh rode in an open-top jeep alongside Supriya Sule, NCP MP and daughter of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and State NCP Chief Janat Patil.
Reacting to his incarnation in jail for a long time, Deshmukh said, “I was kept in jail for over a year at the behest of suspended and arrested police officer Sachin Waze, who is in jail in two cases. I was put in jail for no crime. But finally, I got justice from the court. I have faith in the new administration of the country. I trust in the Constitution of India,” he added.
Pawar told media in Pune that the incarnation of Deshmukh in jail is the best example of the misuse of the Central agencies. He was accused of collecting Rs 100 crore every month from bar and restaurant owners in Mumbai. Then that amount came down to Rs 4.5 crore, indicating fake allegations.
The court, too, clarified that there was no evidence to substantiate this allegation. To avoid such incidents, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking amendments to the relevant acts, he added.
Deshmukh was arrested by ED on November 2, 2021, at around 1.30 am after questioning him for over 12 hours which began on November 01, 2021. The Bombay High Court granted him bail on October 4 in the ED case. However, he still remained in custody in a corruption case registered by CBI.
An SUV planted with gelatin sticks and a threat letter was parked near Antilia, the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani in South Mumbai, on February 25, 2021. The body of Mansukh Hiran, a man linked to the SUV, was found on March 5, 2021, in Thane creek. Allegations were made in the Maharashtra Assembly about Hiran’s link with police officer Waze. Waze was arrested on March 13, 2021, by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Three days after his removal as Mumbai police commissioner for his alleged lapse in handling the Antilia bomb scare case, Param Bir Singh, on March 20, 2021, wrote a letter to the then CM Uddhav Thackeray alleging that Deshmukh had asked Waze to collect Rs 100 crore every month, including Rs 40-50 crore from 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai as such Opposition demanded Deshmukh’s removal.
Singh filed a criminal PIL in the Bombay high court, seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh on March 25, 2021. After the court directed the CBI to carry out a preliminary enquiry into Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh, he resigned on April 5, 2021.
The CBI registered an FIR against Deshmukh and unknown persons on April 21, 2021. Similarly, the ED filed a chargesheet naming Deshmukh as an accused in a corruption case on August 23, 2021.
Now Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande, who ED granted bail in July 2021, awaits bail in a CBI case before the Bombay High Court. The bail applications of Deshmukh’s Private assistant Kundan Shinde are pending in ED and CBI special courts. Waze is in ED’s custody, although he has become an approver in the CBI case.