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NCP leader Sameer Bhujbal gets bail in money laundering case

The Bombay High Court granted bail to NCP leader Sameer Bhujbal, the nephew of former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, in a 2016 money laundering case.

Justice AS Gadkari granted bail to Sameer on the primary grounds that the main accused, Chhagan Bhujbal, had already been extended a similar relief by another bench of the HC, and that Sameer had already been in custody for over two years for an offence that entails a maximum punishment of seven years.

Justice Gadkari also took into account the primary argument of Sameer’s lawyer Vikram Chaudhary that in November 2017, the Supreme Court had struck down section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act which imposed stringent conditions on granting of bail to persons charged under this law.

The HC directed Sameer, a former MP of NCP, to deposit his passport at the special PMLA court and to make him available for questioning whenever required. The HC also asked him not to leave the city without its permission.

Sameer has also been directed to furnish a surety of Rs 5 lakh to secure the bail.

Sameer, Chhagan Bhujbal, and 51 others were charged by the Enforcement Directorate in 2016 for various offences, including the alleged Maharashtra Sadan scam.

While Chhagan Bhujbal was granted bail on May 4 this year by another bench of the HC, a vacation bench of Justice Bharati Dangre had last week refused to grant any interim relief to Sameer.

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