The Bombay High court Wednesday extended till December 27 the time to make effective the bail order to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. On December 12, Justice Makarand S Karnik, while granting bail to Deshmukh in a corruption case, had said the order will become effective only after 10 days, so that the CBI can approach the Supreme Court to challenge the same by then. The 10-day period was to end on Wednesday.
“It is made clear that no further request under any circumstances will be entertained,” a single-judge bench of Justice Makarand S Karnik noted.
CBI had approached the High Court seeking extension of the stay on effect of the bail order till reopening of the supreme court vacation as vacation bench was not available in supreme court. The CBI had filed a special leave petition against the Bombay High Court order in the Supreme Court on December 16, the last working day of the Supreme Court prior to the winter break.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh appearing for the CBI said the central agency be given reasonable opportunity to challenge the order and though it filed an SLP in the apex court, it was not taken up due to the vacation. He said that since the opportunity was not available for the agency to raise its challenge, the stay on effect of bail order be extended till January 2. However, after the bench questioned how it could do so when the Supreme Court was approached, Singh said that the agency will make its final efforts in the next five days and the order can be extended till Tuesday, December 27, which the court accepted.
Advocate Aniket Nikam, representing Deshmukh, vehemently opposed CBI’s application calling it “abuse of process of law” and said it was filed without any provisions in law.
He said that the CBI had a remedy to seek urgent hearing as the Supreme Court registrar was appointed for approaching urgent cases. He said that the CBI had delayed in filing their challenge in the apex court as the High Court order passed on December 12 was made available on the same day and the central agency filed their SLP on December 16 at 2:51 pm.
“The CBI has earlier challenged orders overnight. And another central agency had even got Saturday hearing in the G N Saibaba case. There is a vacation registrar notified before whom they can seek urgency and get matters heard. They want to use backdoor entry and want the high court to exercise powers although the Supreme Court is now seized of the matter and has become functus officio. Why Deshmukh’s liberty should be curtailed once he is granted bail after full hearing. A 73-year-old man’s sickness is considered by the High Court, Supreme court,” Nikam argued.
Justice Karnik in his December 12 order had observed that except for the statement of dismissed police officer Sachin Waze, the approver, none of the other statements recorded indicates that money was collected under the instructions of Deshmukh, and material for relying on Waze’s statement can be examined during the trial.
The bench had also noted that Deshmukh was 73-year-old and suffering from multiple ailments. “The applicant is no longer the home minister and therefore, there is no question of him influencing the investigation. The CBI may proceed with the investigation but not at the cost of the continued incarceration of the applicant,” the court had noted.