Mumbai: In a relief to former deputy chief minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed him to withdraw the writ petition he had filed challenging the constitutional validity of certain sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi permitted Bhujbal to withdraw the petition and at the same time granted him liberty to file a habeas corpus.
The beleaguered politician had specifically challenged two sections: 19 and 45 of the PMLA.
Section 19 of the PMLA empowers the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to arrest an accused based on the evidence gathered by the agency against the individual whereas section 45 deals with the bail of the accused.
In his petition, Bhujbal’s contention was that the ED had arrested him illegally and his detention was against his fundamental rights.
Vikram Chaudhary, the counsel appearing for Bhujbal told the bench that his client wants to withdraw the petition as he would file a fresh petition against his detention.
On the other hand, Hiten Venegaonkar, the counsel appearing for ED opposed Bhujbal’s prayers to file a fresh petition.
After hearing both the sides, the bench allowed Bhujbal to file a fresh petition and granted him liberty to file a writ of habeas corpus.
Interestingly, a vacation bench had refused to allow Bhujbal to withdraw his petition citing that the same is being heard by a division bench of HC. The division bench in September had refused to release Bhujbal on interim bail.