Maha Sadan scam: Chhagan Bhujbal gets bail but to remain in jail

Mumbai: Giving a sigh of relief to senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer Bhujbal, a special Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) court on Wednesday granted bail to both the politicians.

The special court has granted them bail on condition of surety of Rs 50,000 each.

It may be recalled that the uncle-nephew duo are currently lodged in the Arthur Road jail since last few months, after they were arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED), for their alleged role Rs 800 crore money laundering case.

ACB which is investigating the Maharashtra Sadan Scam and the Kalina Library Scam, simultaneously with ED, had in February filed its charge sheet and had named both Chhagan and Sameer Bhujbal along with Chhagan’s son PankajBhujbal. In the previous hearing, the special court had issued ‘Production Warrants’ against Chhagan and Sameer Bhujbal and had directed the jail authorities to produce both of them in the court on Wednesday.

After being produced before the court, they moved their bail applications which were allowed by the special Judge S Ranpise.

When asked about the bail, Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said, “Based on the fact that the agency did not arrest the accused during the course of investigations and also that it filed charge sheet without arresting them, the court granted them bail.”

He added, “After taking cognizance of the offence the court had issued summons against all the accused in this case but had issued production warrants against Chhagan and Sameer Bhujbal (as they are in custody), which they obeyed by appearing before the court, the accused got bail with surety of Rs 50,000 each.”

It must be noted that the ACB has listed names of eight people including Chhagan Bhujbal in the Kalina Library Scam and a total of 17 people including names of Chhagan, Sameer and Pankaj Bhujbal.

The court has granted bail to all the accused named in the Kalina Library case and total of 14 accused in the Maharashtra Sadan Scam.

However, the court has asked all (bailed out) accused to be present in the court for all the hearings.

Last chance for Pankaj to appear

While the special court has granted bail to Chhagan and Sameer Bhujbal, it has also given last chance to PankajBhujbal to appear before the court. Pankaj, who is also named in the charge sheet filed by ED, has failed to appear before the special ACB court two times in a row. It must be noted that ED is searching for Pankaj as the agency wants to arrest him for his alleged role in the Rs 800 money laundering case. On Wednesday, Pankaj’s counsel Abad Ponda told the special court that an application moved by his client (Pankaj) is pending in the HC where he is seeking protection from being arrested by ED. Ponda, told the court that if his client may appear before this court, he might be arrested by ED and so to evade his arrest he requested the court to exempt him from appearing physically. Countering Ponda, Gharat urged the court to issue non-bail able warrant against Pankaj, but the court has given him a last chance and has directed him to be present on July 22.

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