The Bombay High Court on Tuesday, 4 October, granted bail to former Maharashtra Home Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Anil Deshmukh in a money laundering case against him being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Deshmukh was arrested on 1 November 2021 by the ED in a case involving alleged extortion and money laundering charges, which were made against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
So, why was he given bail? Does this mean he walks free? What are more details in the case about him?
Does This Mean He Walks Out Scot-Free?
So far, he has been granted bail in the case against him by the ED.
Deshmukh will continue to be lodged in judicial custody in Arthur Road prison since he is also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the corruption case.
In April 2022, the CBI took his custody in the corruption case. The probe agency filed its charge sheet before a special court in Mumbai against Deshmukh, and his personal staff members Sanjeev Palande and Kundan Shinde, under charges of criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The proceeds of the crime allegedly includes some Rs 4.7 crore extorted from bars and other establishments in Mumbai through now-dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze.
Why Was He Given Bail in the ED Case?
Justice NJ Jamadar, who pronounced the bail order, said according to LiveLaw:
The first two components of credit in the Trust do not form proceeds of crime
The third component depends on statement of Sachin Waze which in the discussion falls in favour of the applicant (Deshmukh).
Besides this Deshmukh was also given the benefit under the proviso under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)
The Case Against Deshmukh: In Detail
The leader of NCP leader had stepped down from the post of home minister in April 2021 after he was accused of corruption by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh.
Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked the former Assistant Police Inspector in Mumbai Police, Sachin Vaze, to collect Rs 100 crore from hotel owners in Mumbai.
On 20 March 2021, Singh wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleging that Deshmukh had abused his position of power to seek illegal monetary benefits.
The letter stated that Deshmukh had directed suspended police officer Sachin Vaze and others to collect Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants over a month.
In his bail plea Deshmukh contended that he was a victim of "gross persecution" and that "harassment was being meted out to him at the hands of certain unscrupulous vested interests for blatantly malafide considerations".
The ED, however, outlined the modus operandi through which Deshmukh and his family members had allegedly laundered over Rs 13 crore.
The money was allegedly routed through shell companies and eventually transferred to the bank account of Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha, a trust allegedly formed by the Deshmukh family, LiveLaw reported.
The ED also alleged that the funds were transferred to various accounts of companies directly and indirectly controlled by Deshmukh's family members.
(With inputs from PTI and LiveLaw.)