The Bombay high court on Tuesday began the hearing of the bail plea of Nationalist Congress Party leader Anil Deshmukh who was arrested in a money laundering case.
The Supreme Court had on Monday directed the high court to decide Deshmukh's bail plea expeditiously as it was pending since March 2022.
Since then, four judges of HC -- Justices Revati Mohite Dere, PD Naik, Bharati Dangre and PK Chavan -- have recused themselves from hearing the former minister's bail plea.
On Tuesday, the bail plea was heard by a single bench of Justice NJ Jamadar.
Deshmukh's lawyers concluded their arguments and the court will hear the arguments of the Enforcement Directorate's counsel on Wednesday.
The former minister's counsel Vikram Chaudhari on Tuesday argued that this was not an open-and-shut case rather it was an opinionated one.
Chaudhari contended that the issues in this case lay in an extremely grey area and the trial was going to be a long process.
“Like I said, it is not an open and shut case... there is more than what meets the eye. The Court must consider this bail from a holistic angle and the applicant has no past antecedents why should he suffer even a day more in jail?” Chaudhari argued.
He further informed the court that Deshmukh was 72 years old and has been suffering from various ailments, including lung and spinal disorders, and that the same was taking a “toll on him”.
Chaudhari cited that Deshmukh does not have past criminal antecedents and had been in custody for nearly 11 months and he should not suffer one more day in jail, as there are zero proceeds of crime against him.
Deshmukh is currently in judicial custody following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in November last year in a money laundering case.
The ED's case of money laundering against Deshmukh, the former home minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, and others came after the CBI booked him in a corruption case related to allegations of extortion made by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The ED has claimed that Deshmukh misused his official position and collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars in Mumbai.
The money was laundered to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by the Deshmukh family, the probe agency has alleged.