Mumbai: PMLA court rejects Chhagan Bhujbal's plea for bail
A special Prevention of Money-laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday rejected the bail application filed by NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal for the second time on the merits of his case
A special Prevention of Money-laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday rejected the bail application filed by NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal for the second time on the merits of his case. His first bail application based on medical grounds was rejected by the Sessions court as well as high court. The court also rejected the bail plea of Bhujbal's nephew, Sameer Bhujbal.
Bhujbal's lawyer Shalabh Saxena told mid-day that their contention for seeking bail was that Bhujbal had been behind bars for two years now. Also, there was no recovery left to be done from him, hence his custody was not required. He also said that they had argued before the court that Bhujbal had secured bail in a similar Scheduled offence filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Shalabh also said that he had mentioned before the court that the important section against Bhujbal, section 45 of PMLA (offences to be cognisable and non-bailable) had been stuck down by the Supreme Court on November 23, calling it unconstitutional. Shalabh further said he had argued before the court that since the stringent section was stuck down there were only IPC sections against Bhujbal, in which the maximum jail term was seven years.
On the other hand, special PMLA prosecutor HitenVenegaonkar objected to the bail and argued that even if section 45 of PMLA has gone, section 24 of PMLA (Burden of Proof) burden still had to be dislodged. "Out of R857 crore, the Bhujbals are unable to explain almost R830 crore, which means they are either admitting that the money is the proceeds of crime or they accept that they can't explain the source."
Venegaonkar also argued that they are powerful politicians and hence there was possibility that witnesses could go hostile if they were released on bail.
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