Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposing the writ of habeas corpus, filed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that his arrest was ‘legal’.
Bhujbal, who is lodged in the Arthur Road jail since his arrest in the Rs 800 crore money laundering case in March, has challenged his detention by the ED. He has contended that the agency does not have any power to make arrests and have illegally detained him.
Neeraj Kaul, the Additional Solicitor General of the Supreme Court, appearing for ED ‘vehemently’ opposed Bhujbal’s petition and submitted that his arrest was ‘legal’ in all manners.
Kaul argued, “The defence alleges that we have illegally arrested the accused but this is not the case. We had informed the accused that we would arrest him in the money laundering case. This was done through a written letter which was sent 15 days prior to his arrest.”
“The accused had the option of challenging his arrest during the arrest but he chose not to and now after rejection of two bails, and several judicial custody orders, he comes with a Habeas Corpus. We would want to know why didn’t the accused filed this petition then and why after eight months? This is a ‘gross abuse’ of the process of law,” Kaul argued.
On the other hand, senior counsel Vikram Chaudhary, appearing for Bhujbal cited several judgments of the Supreme Court and argued that the ED has no power to arrest.
The division bench presided over by Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi however, posted the matter for further hearing on next Monday.