A Mumbai special court on Thursday, 9 June, rejected a plea by jailed Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh who were seeking a one-day bail to vote in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for Friday, 10 June.
However, both Deshmukh and Malik have challenged the special court's order in the Bombay High Court and sought permission to vote in Friday's Rajya Sabha polls, ANI reported. The Bombay High Court refused the urgent hearing on Thursday but is likely to hear it on Friday morning.
Both Malik and Deshmukh, senior NCP leaders, are jailed in connection to separate money laundering cases being investigated by the probe agency.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had told the Special Judge RS Rokade on Tuesday, 7 June that Deshmukh is the main accused in the money laundering case and cannot demand voting rights as a prisoner under the Peoples Representation Act.
In an attempt to approach the high court on the same day, former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh’s lawyers requested a copy of the order.
While Deshmukh was arrested on 1 November 2021 in a money laundering case, the ED arrested Malik on 23 February 2022 in connection to a probe linked to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
The upcoming Rajya Sabha polls will see a contest for the six seats from Maharashtra where, for the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), of which the NCP is a part, every vote is crucial to elect Sanjay Pawar, the Sena’s second candidate.
Maharashtra Rajya Sabha Elections
Given the BJP’s strength in the Assembly, the party has enough votes to win two seats while the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena can win one seat each. The contest for the sixth seat is set between Pawar and Mahadik.
The Congress, with 44 seats, NCP with 52, and the Sena with 55 seats are all part of the MVA and have enough votes to win a second seat for the Sena.
Other than the BJP, Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena, the Assembly has 25 MLAs belonging to smaller parties and independents.
(With inputs from PTI.)