After two years in jail, Bombay High Court gives Chhagan Bhujbal bail

May 05, 2018, 07:59 IST | Agencies

Justice P N Deshmukh directed the 70-year-old leader to submit either a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh, or a cash surety of the same amount by May 14

Chhagan Bhujbal
Chhagan Bhujbal

More than two years after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case, the Bombay High Court yesterday granted bail to NCP leader and former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, taking into account his old age and deteriorating health.

Justice P N Deshmukh directed the 70-year-old leader to submit either a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh, or a cash surety of the same amount by May 14. The judge took into consideration, among other issues, his old age and deteriorating health. A detailed order is yet to be made available.

The high court imposed several conditions on the Nationalist Congress Party leader. He will have to appear before the ED whenever required for questioning, and before the trial court when the trial begins, it said. Bhujbal was also directed not to leave the city without the trial court's permission.

He must not make any attempt to influence the trial or the witnesses or tamper with the evidence, Justice Deshmukh said, warning that the bail will be cancelled if any of these conditions are breached. Bhujbal, who handled the Public Works Department in the Congress-NCP government, was arrested in March 2016 after an ED inquiry found that he allegedly misused his office in awarding contracts for PWD projects, causing a loss to the exchequer. According to the ED, Bhujbal awarded contracts including the one for the construction of a new Maharashtra Sadan — the state guest house — in Delhi to a private firm allegedly in return for kickbacks for himself and his family.

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