The Bombay High Court granted bail to Nashik Agriculture Produce Market Committee chairman Devidas Pingle arrested in a disproportionate assets case by the ACB last December.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar granted bail to Pingle, a former NCP MP from Nashik, stipulating that he would live outside the Nashik city limits for four months and not participate in the APMC affairs till conclusion of his trial.
A former Nationalist Congress Party MP from Nashik, Pingle had been arrested on December 21 last year and had moved the high court for bail after filing of the chargesheet in the case.
The former MP was booked on a complaint that accused him of demanding a part of the dearness allowances received by the APMC employees.
The prosecution alleged an amount of Rs. 57.73 lakh was seized by the ACB from a car ferrying the money to the accused last October.
Defence counsel Aniket Nikam argued that his client Pingle was innocent and he faced the case of political vilification.
Nikam said the chargesheet in the case had been filed and further custodial detention of the accused was not necessary.
The high court, on February 14, had rejected Pingle’s bail plea while observing that the corruption was a serious crime and must be dealt with strictly.
The ACBs case is that the cash was being carried by three men, who were working for Pingle and that the said cash was withdrawn from the banks, on his behest.
The ACB claimed the recovered amount was the arrears of APMC employees DA, who had handed over their money to Pingle.
According to the agency, Pingle allegedly forced his employees to hand over their arrears to him and threatened that if they failed to do so, they would not be given their salaries as per the newly-approved 6th Pay Commission.
The prosecution opposed Pingle’s bail, alleging that his associates were already forcing witnesses to refrain from deposing against him. The prosecution apprehended that if Pingle is granted bail, he might tamper with the evidence against him.
Pingle’s counsel sought bail on the ground that the case against his client was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and that there was no provision in the Act which makes custody of the accused mandatory.