HC rejects bail of ex-minister Chhagan Bhujbal in PMLA case

The Bombay High Court today rejected the bail plea of former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal on medical grounds in a money laundering case, saying it was not satisfied that his condition needed urgent attention.

Chhagan Bhujbal
Chhagan Bhujbal

"We are not satisfied with the applicant's plea that his health condition needs urgent attention," said Justice P N Deshmukh. However, the court asked the jail authorities to give proper medical help to Bhujbal in jail and take him to nearest government hospital whenever he requires attention.

Bhujbal, held under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, had sought bail on medical grounds, contending that he is suffering from a critical heart ailment.

Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the case against Bhujbal, opposed the bail plea saying his condition was not critical and they would take him to government hospital whenever required. Rejecting the bail plea, the court also observed that the investigations in the case were pending and it would not be fit and proper to grant bail.

Earlier, a special PMLA court had rejected Bhujbal's plea on health grounds. Being aggrieved, he moved the high court with this fresh plea.

Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for Bhujbal, argued that the 69-year-old NCP leader was suffering from a terminal illness which needs immediate and a specific line of treatment.

"His (Bhujbal) health condition is critical and needs to be dealt with at the earliest. He is suffering from a terminal illness," Desai said. He added that since past 25 years, Bhujbal has also been suffering from various other ailments like diabetes, bronchial asthma, hyper-tension and has also undergone surgeries for heart ailments.

Desai said the prosecution cannot claim that the medical documents submitted by Bhujbal are fake or fabricated just for the purpose of securing bail as the former minister has undergone treatment from leading doctors in the city.

Bhujbal, who was arrested on March 14 by ED for alleged money laundering, was admitted to the St George hospital here on March 18 after he fell sick in Arthur Road prison. He was discharged after a week.

The agency has filed two FIRs against Bhujbal, his son and nephew and others under the provisions of PMLA, based on Mumbai Police FIRs, to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.

The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau has already filed a charge sheet against Bhujbal, Pankaj, Sameer and 14 others in the Maharashtra Sadan scam case.

The new Maharashtra Sadan was built at the cost of Rs 100 crore when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.

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