A single bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday recused itself from hearing the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and his aide Pravin Raut in a money laundering case.
The ED had approached the HC seeking cancellation of bail granted to the Rajya Sabha MP and his aide by a special court on November 9.
The Central probe agency had sought an interim stay on the bail order, which the HC had refused.
On Friday, when the matter came up for hearing, the single bench of Justice M S Karnik said, “It would not be appropriate for me to take up this matter… not before me.” The matter will now be placed before a new bench.
Sanjay Raut was granted bail by special PMLA judge M G Deshpande, over a hundred days after he was arrested in the money laundering case related to redevelopment of Patra Chawl (a chawl is a row of old tenements) in suburban Goregaon.
The special court, in its order, had termed the Rajya Sabha member’s arrest as “illegal, without reason and a witch-hunt”.
The ED, in its application, said the special court order was bad in law and deserves to be set aside. It also claimed the special court had failed to appreciate the evidence submitted in the case against the accused persons.
“The special court failed to appreciate the offense of money laundering is a grave economic offense, which is committed by well-planned conspiracy and is as heinous, if not more, than an act of murder or terrorism,” the ED said.