Acquittal must be Sanjay Raut’s next goal

Acquittal must be Sanjay Raut’s next goal

After all, he remained in jail for more than 100 days and his continued detention was not vital for the case.

EditorialUpdated: Friday, November 11, 2022, 12:56 AM IST
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Acquittal must be Sanjay Raut’s next goal | PTI

The release of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on bail should ordinarily have been considered the logical culmination of a judicial process. After all, he remained in jail for more than 100 days and his continued detention was not vital for the case. However, the verdict assumes significance for the sharp comments the judge made while granting him bail and refusing the prosecution’s plea to defer the order. True, the court confined itself to weighing the pros and cons of granting him bail and not judging the case in toto. The question the judge sought to answer was whether he deserved bail. There are umpteen cases in which the apex court has ruled that bail, not jail, should be the norm.

Nonetheless, the order exposes the lack of application of mind by the Enforcement Directorate while registering the case against Mr Raut for money laundering. The E.D. was not sure whether Mr Raut was the mastermind of the case when all that he allegedly got illegally was 1% of the total money involved. The failure to arrest those whom the E.D. variously called the masterminds also proved that Mr Raut was more sinned against than sinning. More interesting than all this was the description of his arrest as “illegal” and the result of a “witch-hunt”, certainly terms that do not redound to the credit of the premier investigating agency that looks into economic offences. All this substantiates the point that Mr Raut was targeted for being extra-critical of the ruling party.

Almost all Opposition parties have alleged that the Government has been using the E.D. to terrorise their leaders. There are so many cases against them that can be cited while cases against members of the ruling party are few and far between. What’s worse, a senior E.D. officer who “investigated” several cases against Opposition leaders was given a BJP ticket in Uttar Pradesh and allowed to retire voluntarily to pursue a career in politics.

Credibility is of the essence for any investigating agency and the E.D. is no exception. Having said this, it needs to be mentioned that it is only bail that Mr Raut has obtained. The court might have found certain infirmities in the case, but it has not acquitted him. Acquittal should be the next objective for Sanjay Raut to pursue to regain his credibility as an untainted politician.

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