Money laundering case: Court rejects Anil Deshmukh’s plea for default bail

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In a setback to Anil Deshmukh, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Tuesday rejected the former Maharashtra home minister’s plea to be granted default bail in connection with a money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Deshmukh, against whom the money laundering case was registered by the ED after allegations of corruption against him were levelled by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh, approached the special PMLA court for bail on January 4. He argued in his plea that though the agency had filed a charge-sheet against him, the court had not taken cognisance of it, and, therefore, he should be granted default bail.

Under Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), a person who has been arrested can seek default bail if no charge-sheet is filed, and no cognisance is taken within 60 days of the arrest.

However, countering his charge, the ED, on January 5, told the special court a charge-sheet was filed within 60 days of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader’s arrest. Deshmukh, it said, was arrested on November 2, 2021, under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in accordance with the law, under reasonable belief that he was guilty of the offence of money laundering.

On March 20 last year, Param Bir Singh, days after being shunted as Mumbai Police chief in the wake of the Antilia bomb scare episode, wrote to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. In the letter, Singh accused then state home minister Anil Deshmukh of instructing assistant inspector Sachin Vaze, since dismissed from Mumbai police, to collect an amount of Rs100 crore every month from restaurants and bars in the state capital.

On May 11, 2021, the ED registered registered the money-laundering case against the NCP leader on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on April 21.

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