Bombay HC Allows Time For ED To Amend Appeal Against Sanjay Raut's Bail & Challenge Special Court's "Uncalled For" Remarks Against It
The Bombay High Court on Friday adjourned to November 25 the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging the bail granted to MP Sanjay Raut from Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)'s political party, in the Patra Chawl money laundering case.
Justice Bharati Dangre adjourned the matter after ASG Anil Singh for ED sought time to amend the plea and take certain additional grounds based on the Special PMLA Court's scathing observations against the agency.
Singh said that the observations made by the special judge are adversely affecting the agency in other proceedings. He added that several observations made were "uncalled for".
Senior Advocate Ashok Mundargi for Raut submitted that the agency had taken a month to respond to the bail application, they should get at least two weeks to file a reply to the appeal. Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda for co-accused Pravin Raut also asked the ED to clarify its stand.
Justice Dangre then asked the ED to serve an amended copy of the appeal by Monday and for the accused to respond within the next seven days. The matter will now be taken up for hearing on November 25 at 2.30pm.
In a scathing order Special PMLA judge MG Deshpande held that Raut and close aide Pravin Raut's arrest on July 31, 2022 was "illegal." The judge said that while Pravin Raut was arrested for a civil dispute, Sanjay Raut was arrested for "non reason at all." The MP was released from prison the same evening.
The special judge called their arrest a "witch-hunt" and also accused ED of a "pick-and-choose attitude".
"Simply labelling pure civil disputes with 'money laundering' or 'Economic Offence' cannot automatically acquire such status and ultimately drag an innocent person into a miserable situation in the guise of arrest... Court has to do what is right, irrespective of who is before it," the judge said.
It also commented on the "extraordinary pace" at which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrests people and "not even a snail's speed in conducting trials."
"I am constrained to note that not a single trial right from the establishment of this designated court has the ED concluded by leading evidence, and the court could not give a single judgment right from the last decade. This court has submitted a detailed report to the... principal judge regarding such modus operandi availed by the ED in conducting trials," the special judge had said.
Compiled by Sharmeen Hakim
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