Bombay High Court rejects interim bail plea of Sameer Bhujbal, slams Additional Solicitor General

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday denied interim bail to former law maker Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal. The HC has adjourned his bail plea till June 5, thus granting time to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to place on record the amendments made in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

A single-judge bench of Justice Ajay Gadkari granted time to Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh to place on record the amendments made in the PMLA act to nullify the ruling of the Supreme Court striking down a controversial provision from the statute. The SC had last year struck down section 45 of the PMLA which imposed conditions on the courts for granting bail to accused. The SC held this provision as arbitrary and unconstitutional. It may be noted that this ruling of the Apex court had relieved not only Chhagan Bhujbal but hundreds of other people booked under PMLA.

Appearing for ED, ASG Singh apprised Justice Gadkari of the move of the Union government to amend the PMLA law. He informed the court that by way of this amendment, the government has introduced two new conditions upon a court while granting bail to any accused. Having heard his contention, Justice Gadkari asked ASG Singh to place on record the said amendments. ASG Singh, however, failed to do so and instead sought time.

Irked over this, Justice Gadkar said, “With due respect to the status you hold, you are not expected to run around the bushes. You must place on record the amendments which you claim are introduced. I am seriously not understanding whatever you are arguing.” Justice Gadkari accordingly granted time to ASG Singh for preparing his arguments.

Meanwhile, senior counsel Vikram Chaudhary appearing for Sameer urged the court to grant an interim bail to his client. He stressed on the fact that Sameer has been in custody since February 2016 while all the other 50 accused including the main accused Chhagan Bhujbal are out on bail. However, Justice Gadkari refused to grant him interim bail and posted the matter for further hearing on June 5.

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