Bombay high court judge Justice Bharati Dangre on Thursday recused herself from hearing the petition filed by former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh seeking bail in a money laundering case.
Justice Dangre said she would not be able to hear the plea due to "personal reasons".
Deshmukh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on November 2, 2021, and is currently in judicial custody.
The Nationalist Congress Party leader had filed the petition in the high court after a special court rejected his bail plea in March this year. He sought bail on the grounds of his ailing health and termed the ED's case as "false and frivolous".
In his bail plea filed in the high court through advocates Aniket Nikam and Inderpal Singh, Deshmukh said he was targeted by the ED in a false and frivolous case and alleged that the agency was misusing its authority.
The plea further refuted the charges of money laundering and said all the alleged transactions were documented.
The applicant (Deshmukh) is 73 years old and suffering from various age-related ailments, including shoulder dislocation, hypertension and others, the plea said.
"...These ailments impact his immunity level, which necessitates his dependence on a constant support and help," it said, requesting the court to show benevolent indulgence and release Deshmukh on bail.
The ED in its affidavit had opposed the bail plea and said Deshmukh was the mastermind and brain behind the conspiracy and that he misused his official position as home minister.
The ED had launched a probe against Deshmukh and his associates after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed an FIR against him on charges of corruption and misuse of official position.
The ED's case is that while serving as state home minister, Deshmukh allegedly misused his official position and through Sachin Waze, a police officer who has been dismissed from service after his arrest in the 'Antilia' bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran killing cases, 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, it said.