There is no sign of relief to NCP leader Nawab Malik as he applied for bail on several occasions but failed to get released from jail. The Bombay High Court on Thursday once again rejected his plea seeking bail on health grounds in a money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). It will hear Malik’s bail plea on the case’s merits after two weeks. A single-judge bench of Justice Anuja Prabhudessai had concluded the hearing and reserved order on June 16. The NCP leader challenged the November 30, 2022, special court order that rejected his bail plea.
The ED arrested the former minister in February last year in a money laundering case registered over the Goawala compound property in Kurla, allegedly linked to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim. He has been in judicial custody since March 2022. He has been admitted to Criticare Hospital, Kurla, since May 2022. The special court had said he would remain in the hospital until further orders.
Senior advocate Amit Desai, representing Malik, argued that the applicant’s health had worsened over the last eight months, and his kidney problem aggravated after his arrest. Desai said Malik suffered from chronic kidney disease and has only one functional kidney, and the Supreme Court has considered it a ground for medical bail in several cases previously. Desai said Malik is on stage 2 to stage 3 of the chronic kidney disease, and the same is also affecting the other organs and sought a sympathetic approach from the court as it involved Malik’s fundamental right of personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Desai said while the disease cannot be reversed, Malik’s health condition can be stabilised by performing surgery. The ED argued that many people live normally with just one functional kidney. The central agency also said there were instances in which the courts had permitted bail on health grounds where the applicant could not afford treatment in private hospitals. The ED said Malik had been receiving treatment in a private hospital soon after his arrest, and he could bear the cost. Therefore, there was no need to grant him interim bail on medical grounds, the agency argued.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, representing the ED, had opposed the plea saying it was not maintainable and argued that Malik’s health was not as critical as it is being portrayed in the application. ASG Singh argued that while Malik’s left kidney has an issue, the right kidney functions well. “Many times people donate a kidney and with one kidney, they lead their lives. He will also lead a normal life,” Singh had argued.
The agency had also relied on a report submitted by the medical board constituted under the state-run JJ Hospital and submitted that, as per the report, Malik need not be hospitalised and that proper medical treatment was being provided to Malik by the prison authorities.