Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh walked out of jail on Wednesday amidst the cheering of the party workers who had assembled outside the Arthur Road jail to welcome him.
The former minister has been in jail since November 2021 after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested him in an alleged money laundering case. He was released after a holiday court issued a release memo paving the way for his release from the prison.
He also expressed gratitude towards those who supported him. He was received by Jayant Patil, Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule and hundreds of NCP workers.
On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court had refused to give the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) an extension on its stay order which would defer his bail in the agency's corruption case from getting effective.
The NCP leader had secured bail from the Bombay High Court on Dec 12 in the case. The order had been stayed from getting effective for 10 days so that the CBI could approach the apex court to challenge the order. The stay was extended on Dec 21 till Dec 27. On Tuesday, the agency had again approached the HC for a three-day extension of stay as it had not got a hearing before the top court as it was closed for vacation. The HC had refused this as while granting the extension of Dec 21, the HC bench had stated that under no circumstances a further extension would be entertained.
On Wednesday, a holiday court at sessions verified sureties appearing for Deshmukh and then issued a release memo. His advocates Inderpal Singh and Aniket Nikam submitted the release order to the jail authorities in Arthur Road prison.
As per the CBI's case, Deshmukh had misused his position when he was the state home minister and had collected amounts from resto-bars in the city in exchange for letting them operate at flexible timings beyond the timings stipulated during the COVID-induced lockdown. He had also allegedly indulged in corruption in police transfers and postings.
While granting bail to Deshmukh, the HC had questioned the reliability of dismissed cop Sachin Vaze's statement on which the CBI had relied heavily. Vaze had claimed that he had collected money on instructions of Deshmukh from the city's resto bar owners. The HC had noted that Vaze was involved in a fake encounter case, extortion, etc.
In Oct this year, Deshmukh had secured bail from the HC in the Enforcement Directorate's money laundering case arising out of the CBI's FIR. He however had to remain in prison as he had not secured bail in the CBI's case in which he was in custody.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)