The Bombay High Court will hear on December 2 the bail plea of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh in a corruption case lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On Tuesday, the counsel for CBI urged a single-judge bench of Justice Makarand S Karnik to adjourn the matter as additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil Singh, who was to appear for the central agency, was unwell. Deshmukh’s counsel submitted that the central agency was delaying the hearing in the case and sought an earlier date for hearing the bail plea. The bench posted the hearing to Friday, December 2.
Justice Karnik stated that on Friday, he will first begin hearing for bail on medical grounds and thereafter he will proceed to hear the plea on the merits of the case.
Earlier on November 14, a single-judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde had posted the plea for hearing later this month. On November 11, Justice Bharati H Dangre recused herself from hearing the plea. As per the notice of assignments of high court judges, Justice Karnik was assigned to hear the bail pleas from November 21.
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The CBI, in its response to the bail plea, had told the high court that the grant of bail in the ED case cannot be a ground for release on bail in a corruption case filed by it.
Last month, Deshmukh approached the Bombay High Court seeking regular bail in the CBI case after the special court rejected his bail application. The special court had said that the statement of the accused-turned-approver, dismissed police officer Sachin Waze, plays an important role at the stage of bail and cannot be overlooked.
Challenging the special CBI court order, Deshmukh, in his plea filed through advocates Inderpal Singh and Aniket Nikam, claimed that the trial court erred in refusing bail to him and that its order was mere “cut, copy and paste job” of contents in the CBI charge sheet. It added that the “approach adopted in the trial court order was perverse” and while the high court had considered his medical status while deciding his bail plea in the ED case, the trial court overlooked the same.
The central agency, in its response, had said the statements of Waze recorded under the PMLA could not be equated with his statements recorded before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the CBI case.
Earlier, on October 4, a single-judge bench of Justice N J Jamadar of the Bombay High Court had granted Deshmukh bail in a money laundering case filed by the ED. The high court had observed that prima facie reliance could not be placed on Waze’s statement.
The ED probe into Deshmukh’s financial transactions is in line with a CBI probe into former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s allegations of corruption against the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader. The CBI initiated a preliminary probe based on the April 5, 2021, high court order and registered an FIR on April 21, 2021.