Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh walks out of jail after a year
Mumbai: Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh was on Wednesday released on bail from Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail, over a year after he was arrested in connection with an alleged corruption case
Mumbai: Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh was on Wednesday released on bail from Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail, over a year after he was arrested in connection with an alleged corruption case.
Deshmukh (73) was released a day after a vacation bench of the Bombay high court refused to further stay its December 12 order granting bail to the senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in a corruption case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, Jayant Patil, Dilip Walse-Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal along with a large number of party supporters and family members greeted Deshmukh as he stepped out of the prison around 5 pm.
“I have full faith in the judiciary...,” Deshmukh told reporters outside the jail amid loud cheer from his supporters.
‘’Param Bir Singh (former Mumbai Police commissioner) alleged that I had asked for ₹100 crore to be collected from bars and restaurants in the city. Later, he admitted in the affidavit submitted before the court that the allegations were based on hearsay and he did not have any proof against me,’’ he said.
Deshmukh also underlined the high court remarks questioning the statement of dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze, who was an accused in a murder case and was close to Param Bir Singh. “It is very sad that just because of Vaze’s allegations, I had to spend time in jail... Param Bir Singh’s allegations also turned out to be false.”
The senior NCP leader also thanked party president Sharad Pawar and other leaders for their support.
Deshmukh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate ED on November 2 last year in an alleged money-laundering case based on an FIR registered by CBI in an alleged corruption case on April 21, 2021.
In a letter to then Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and others on March 20, 2021, Param Bir Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had instructed certain Mumbai Police officers, including Vaze, to collect ₹100 crore every month from restaurants and bars in the city. Deshmukh denied the allegations but had to step down from his post after the Bombay high court directed CBI to register a case against him.
CBI arrested Deshmukh on April 6 this year and filed a charge sheet against him on July 12. The high court on October 4 granted him bail in the ED case and on December 12 in the CBI case, but stayed the order for 10 days as the central agency sought time to challenge it in the Supreme Court. Last week, the high court extended the stay till December 27 on CBI’s request. But a vacation bench of the HC on Tuesday rejected the CBI’s plea seeking another extension.
In a rare display of generosity, chief minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday offered the government aircraft to leader of opposition in assembly Ajit Pawar to fly to Mumbai from Nagpur where he was attending the winter session of legislature. Walse-Patil and Bhujbal also shared the ride to the city.
After his release, Deshmukh went to Siddhivinayak temple in an open jeep with Supriya Sule and Jayant Patil standing by his side. Several party workers accompanied him on bikes, raising slogans.
Earlier in the day, Deshmukh’s lawyers Inderpal Singh and Aniket Nikam approached the special PMLA court for completing the formalities. The formalities of the NCP leader’s release were over by 3pm after which Singh went to Arthur Road jail and dropped the release order in the drop box. Deshmukh walked out of prison around 5 pm.
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