SC Rejects ED’s Appeal Challenging Bail Granted to Anil Deshmukh in PMLA Case

Anil Deshmukh Law Insider

Khushi Bajpai

Published on: October 12, 2022 at 19:48 IST

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) appeal of the Bombay High Court’s decision to grant former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh bail in a money laundering case.

At one point during the hearing, a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said aloud that the allegations against Mr. Deshmukh “at most may form an offence of corruption… where is the element of money laundering?”

However, the Bench included a note in the order—at the request of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the ED—that the High Court’s comments regarding the reliability of the case’s evidence would not have an impact on the trial.

The Bench stated that Mr. Deshmukh was over 70 years old and suffering from several illnesses.

However, Mr. Mehta informed the court via declarations made by Param Bir Singh, a former Mumbai Police Commissioner, and Mumbai Police Officer Sachin Waze that cash had been collected from bar owners and given to Mr. Deshmukh.

The law officer claimed that through the use of phony corporations, the funds were improperly directed to a group headed by the former Minister.

The Bench, however, questioned Mr. Waze’s veracity and inquired as to whether he had previously been charged with murder and afterwards served as an approver in a money laundering case.

The court stated that the High Court had also highlighted some uncertainty regarding the true purpose of the funds obtained from the bar owners and whether or not such a collection amounted to bribery rather than money laundering.

Kapil Sibal, a prominent lawyer, claimed that Mr. Waze and Mr. Singh had attempted to blame the Home Minister. Except for Mr. Waze’s remark, there was no further proof.

The dispute began on March 20, 2021, when Mr. Singh accused Mr. Deshmukh of abusing his position and authority to obtain illegal financial benefits in a letter to the then-chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray.

On April 5, 2021, the High Court ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary investigation into Mr. Deshmukh.

Soon after, the ED intervened and began looking into claims of money laundering made against him.

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