Refusing to grant further relief to NCP leader Pankaj Bhujbal in the form of interim protection from arrest, the Bombay High Court today decided to hear on June 24 his plea challenging non-bailable warrant issued against him by a special court on money laundering charges.
A division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka said it would hear on June 24 the petition filed by Pankaj challenging the non-bailable warrant issued by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in the Maharashtra Sadan Scam case.
Earlier, the high court had granted Pankaj interim protection from arrest which was extended for a brief period which has now expired.
Pankaj’s counsel pleaded he was not insisting for further relief at this stage but prayed that his plea be heard as soon as possible.
Pankaj is facing charges of money laundering along with his father and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
Seven other accused, along with Pankaj, have also challenged the non-bailable warrants issued by the PMLA court against them. However, these accused, including Asif Balwa and Vinod Goenka, have not yet pressed for relief.
Eleven others, including Rajya Sabha member and real estate developer Sanjay Kakade, have urged for anticipatory bail after non-bailable warrants were issued against them and they have been granted protection from arrest till July 1 by the high court.
According to ED, the accused allegedly conspired with Chhagan Bhujbal, a former PWD minister, to divert or ‘launder’ the “kickbacks” received by him through their firms.
The petitioners contended that the offences they are charged with are non-cognisable and warrants could not have been issued against them because they were not arrested during the interrogation which took place earlier.
On March 30, ED had filed a 11,500-page charge sheet naming Chhagan Bhujbal, Pankaj, Bhujbal’s nephew Sameer and firms such as D B Realty, Balwa group, Neelkamal Realtors and Builders, Neelkamal Central Apartment LLP and Kakade Infrastructure in connection with the case.
The charges relate to alleged irregularities in the construction of the state guest house Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi and the Kalina land-grabbing case in Mumbai.