Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Home Minister of Maharashtra, Anil Deshmukh has moved a Mumbai Sessions Court with a bail plea in relation to the money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in which he is prime accused.
Deshmukh submitted in his plea, filed through Advocate Aniket Nikam, that he is entitled to statutory bail since no cognisance had been taken by the Special Court of the chargesheet within the statutory period of 60 days as prescribed under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)
Deshmukh stated that excluding the date of the first remand, a period of 60 days have elapsed and a statutory embargo created on any further custody, as per Section 167.
However, without disclosing the same, the ED had obtained Deshmukh's remand on December 27, 2021, till January 9, 2022, which is thus non-est in law, it was stated.
The present application has been filed since the right to statutory bail arose after the completion of 60 days of NCP leader's remand, it was submitted.
The ED had filed its chargesheet against Deshmukh in the present case on December 29, 2021. Deshmukh's contention was that mere filing of the chargesheet cannot be construed as conclusion of the investigation, as it is important that cognisance needs to be taken of the same.
On the expiry of 60 days, if investigation is not completed and cognizance is not taken, then "an indefeasible right of statutory bail accrued to the accused under Section 167(2) of the CrPC which is also constitutional and fundamental right under Article 21", the plea said.
Additional Sessions Judge RN Rokade is likely to hear the bail application on January 5, 2022.
Deshmukh has been in judicial custody since November 15, 2021 in connection to the probe initiated by the ED after the filed a first information report (FIR) following a into allegations of corruption and misuse of his official position.
Simultaneously, Deshmukh had challenged the summons before the Bombay High Court, which dismissed his petition while directing him to take appropriate steps to approach the courts for anticipatory bail.
The former Maharashtra Home Minister appeared before ED officials on Monday, November 1. After interrogation for about 12 hours, he was arrested post midnight on Tuesday. A Mumbai court had then allowed ED custody of Deshmukh till November 6, 2021.
A Sessions Court then turned down the ED's plea for extension of custody, and he was remanded to judicial custody of 14 days. This order was set aside by the Bombay High Court in a special Sunday sitting after ED challenged the same.
The High Court then remanded Deshmukh to ED custody till November 12, which was extended till November 15, and the NCP leader has been in judicial custody since.