The Bombay High Court granted bail to Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). A single-judge bench of Justice N J Jamadar had concluded the hearing and reserved its order on November 21, which it pronounced Tuesday.
However, he will continue to stay in jail in connection with the CBI case since he has not availed bail in a corruption case filed by the CBI.
While the ED had sought from the court to stay the operation of its order to approach the Supreme Court, the bench refused the central agency’s request. It also directed Palande to furnish a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh along with sureties of like amount. He was also asked to cooperate with the case.
A special PMLA Court in December last year had rejected the bail applications of two staffers of NCP leader Deshmukh arrested in connection with a money laundering case.
Palande and Kundan Shinde were held in June by the ED on allegations that they had colluded with Deshmukh in laundering money received as bribes from bar owners in Mumbai. Palande had moved the High Court challenging the special court order.
Palande had submitted before the agency that there is no evidence against them to show collusion or that illegal activity was committed by them along with Deshmukh. He also claimed that while the ED has named eight persons, only him and Shinde were arrested due to their connection with the former home minister.
On December 12, Justice Makarand S Karnik of the High Court had granted bail to Deshmukh in a corruption case lodged by the CBI. However, he will not be released from jail soon as the court said its order will become effective only after ten days, so that the CBI can approach the Supreme Court to challenge the high court order till then.
On October 4, a bench of Justice N J Jamadar of the High Court had granted bail to Deshmukh in the case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The High Court had observed that prima facie, reliance could not be placed on the statement of dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze.
Advocates Shekhar Jagtap and Sairuchita Chowdhary representing Palande said there was no ‘long association’ between Palande and Deshmukh and he was assigned to work with Deshmukh when he took office as Home Minister and after Deshmukh resigned on April 5, last year, Palande was repatriated to the revenue department.
Jagtap submitted that assistant commissioner of Police Sanjay Patil, who was with the social service branch of Mumbai Police when Deshmukh was home minister, had clearly stated that Waze had told him that he was collecting money from various businesses in Mumbai on instructions of the “number one”, on whose instructions the alleged extortion amount was collected — was former police chief Param Bir Singh, who has now become a “blue-eyed boy” of the agencies and witness in the case.
The ED, through Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh for the ED had opposed the plea and submitted that Palande had given instructions on behalf of Deshmukh to Waze for collection of money. He said the probe as well as statements given by Waze and Deshmukh’s aides Palande and Shinde show that the NCP leader was “involved in corruption of highest level” that affected the governance of the state.
Singh said that Palande was associated with Deshmukh for a long time and Waze had in his statements indicated that money was being collected for Deshmukh. The agency had claimed that Palande, in his statement, had said that a list containing the references with regards to transfers and postings of the police officers of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) rank and above along with names of concerned MLAs and MLCs who had given reference used to be received at Home Minister’s office.