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Tainted Chhagan Bhujbal seeks for bail in Supreme Court

Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Chhagan Bhujbal on Thursday submitted a Supreme Court order before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court contending that in light of this SC judgement he is entitled for bail.

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down twin conditions of PMLA terming them to be unconstitutional and violative of right to life and liberty granted under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The special PMLA court judge M.S. Azmi granted time till Friday to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) counsel Hiten Venegaonkar counsel to study the judgment and file his reply.

Bhujbal’s lawyer Shalabh Saxena said, “The Supreme Court has struck down section 45 of the PMLA which says that to get bail the accused should come clean from the charges. This is equivalent to getting an acquittal and is one of the biggest hurdle for any accused to get bail in a PMLA case.”

Mr Saxena also said that the SC has now removed this section, which will impact all the PMLA cases including that of Mr Bhujbal.

“Hence, we submitted this judgement before the court, which is already hearing his bail plea.” According to advocate Saxena the ED has sought a day’s time to file reply and court has deferred hearing for a day.

Striking down the provisions, a bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said: “The twin conditions laid down in Section 45 would have no nexus whatsoever with a bail application which concerns itself with the offence of money laundering”.

The ED has arrested Bhujbal for cases pertaining to the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land allotment case, where Bhujbal, who was the then PWD minister, is accused of taking kick-backs for allotment of the projects. The second case is related to a housing project in Navi Mumbai

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