Bombay High Court: “Judiciary and agencies like CBI, ED should act independently”

Jan21,2021 #Bombay High Court #CBI #ED

Umamageswari Maruthappan

The Bombay High Court asseverated that it is important for the Judiciary and agencies like the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to act independently.

The Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale while hearing a land deal case of 2016, further discerned that if such agencies fail to be “independent and impartial” then it will be a “threat to democracy.”

A petition was filed by Mr. Eknath Khadse through his Counsel Aabad Ponda to quash the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) which the ED had registered on October 2020. It also sought interim relief from any coercive action against the former Revenue Minister of Maharashtra.

The ED counterpleaded stating that the request to quash the ECIR is “premature” and therefore is not maintainable. Further, Anil Singh, the Counsel for ED assured that no coercive action will be taken until 25th January 2021.

To this, the Court interrupted and questioned the ED seeking reasons as to why no coercive action only until 25th January. “What heavens are going to fall if the petitioner is given protection for few more days?,” the Court asked.

The Bench also stated that since the petitioner is cooperating with the case hearings and proceedings there is no need for immediate arrest.

Mr. Khadse was alleged to be involved in a land dealing case in Pune. Last month, the ED investigated the case. Later, Khadse left the BJP government and joined the NCP.

Mr. Khadse said that there was no illegality with respect to the purchase of the land in question. However, the ED rejected it and said that the probe fortifies the allegations.

The Agency then registered the ECIR against Mr. Khadse, his wife Mandakini Khadse and son-in-law Girish Choudhari.

It alleged that the land was “purchased at a low rate of Rs. 3.75 crore with a criminal intent to later seek compensation from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), which was to acquire the land in future.”

The actual market price of the land could be possibly more than 31 Crores.

It stated that Eknath Khadse had misused his power, causing a loss of ₹62 crore to the public treasury.

However, the petitioner claimed that an FIR was filed in 2017 in this respect and the Police had filed a closure report before a Pune Court. However, crushing the petitioner’s statement, the ED replied that the concerned court has not yet accepted the report.

The Case has been adjourned to 25th January 2021.

Related Post