Anil Deshmukh bailed out after 13 months, order stayed 10 days to enable CBI move SC (Ld)

The Bombay High Court on Monday granted conditional bail to former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh after he spent nearly 13 months in jail custody in alleged corruption case lodged by the CBI.

However, after Additional Solicitor-General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, sought a stay on the order as it plans to move the Supreme Court, the high court said the bail order would be effective after 10 days.

A senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Leader, Deshmukh, 74, was nabbed early on November 2, 2021 in alleged corruption and money-laundering cases being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigations and later the Enforcement Directorate.

Justice M. S. Karnik, who had reserved his order on Dec. 8, pronounced the verdict, allowing Deshmukh bail on a Rs 100,000 bond.

Last month, the high court had granted him bail in the ED money-laundering case, but the CBI Special Court had rejected his bail plea, which Deshmukh challenged in the high court.

Strongly arguing against the bail, Singh contended that merely because Deshmukh secured bail in a money-laundering offence did not automatically entitle him to bail in the CBI corruption case also, as corruption took place at the highest level in the government, and pointed out that the SC has said money-laundering is a stand-alone offence to be decided on its own merits.

Deshmukh’s lawyers Vikram Choudhari and Aniket Nikam argued that after considering all the material on record, the high court had granted bail in the PMLA case and the apex court did not disturb that order.

Choudhari further contended that the CBI and ED cases are intertwined and as Deshmukh was given bail in the ED case, he should be granted bail even in the CBI case.

He contended that Deshmukh’s arrest was improper and violative of the SC guidelines and since he is in his 70s and jailed for over a year, deserved bail on merits.

Arguing further, Choudhari said that the sacked Mumbai Police cop Sachin Vaze had made contradictory statements which could not form the basis to deny Deshmukh bail in the CBI case.

He also pointed out that the CBI chose to nab Deshmukh though he was interrogated twice while in custody after his arrest by the ED for alleged offences that are punishable with upto seven years in jail.

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