New Delhi, Oct 11 (SocialNews.XYZ) The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Bombay High Court order granting bail to former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in a money laundering case.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said: "We will not interfere with the high court order granting bail...".
It added since the observations in the high court order were only confined to if he was entitled to bail, it would clarify that these observations will not affect the merits of the trial or any other proceedings.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had moved the apex court challenging the high court order granting bail to Deshmukh.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, contended that the high court drew incorrect conclusions in connection with dismissed cop Sachin Waze, who was co-accused in the case before he turned into an approver. He added that the money collected from bar owners was for Deshmukh, and if he has health problems, he can be transferred to a hospital, but cannot get bail.
The top court said that it is only on bail and not on the merits of the case and it will only interfere with the high court order, if it is perverse.
Mehta submitted that he is attempting to show the perversity which is writ large in the order. The bench asked how long Deshmukh has been in custody. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Deshmukh, said his client has been in custody for one year and added that the high court order cannot be interfered with, unless it is perverse.
Mehta said this offence is not any less serious than terrorism, and added, "throughout it said that no. 1 is Home Minister. How can it be said that there was no collection for him because of no phone calls?"
On the aspect of Deshmukh's health, Mehta said the diseases mentioned to get bail were associated with lifestyle, which could be taken care of in a hospital.
Justice Chandrachud said, "See if say somebody who is 35, certain different standards will apply... But a lot of things have to be looked into. There can be age and occupational hazards".
Sibal vehemently argued that there is no evidence that money was laundered and also there is no corroboration of statements. He said, "You have to show that the money was laundered, not through 161 statements."
Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court allowed Deshmukh's bail plea in the money laundering case being probed by the ED.
It had noted that Waze's statements lacked certainty. Waze had made a statement that an amount of Rs 1.71 crore was transferred during the months of February and March, 2021 allegedly extorted from the bar owners and handed over to Deshmukh's personal assistant.
The CBI had booked Deshmukh and his associates for alleged corruption that took place between 2019 and 2021. In April 2021, the Bombay High Court issued directions for an inquiry in response to a petition filed by Param Bir Singh, former Commissioner of Mumbai Police. The ED initiated a case of money laundering against Deshmukh and arrested him last year.