Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday said it was of the prima facie opinion that considering the medical condition of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, priority should be given to his bail plea in a case of corruption and misuse of official position being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Deshmukh, 74, had approached the high court after a special CBI court rejected his bail plea last month. He sought bail both on medical grounds as well as on merits.
When the plea was heard on Friday, Deshmukh’s counsel Vikram Chaudhari told a single bench of Justice M S Karnik that the former minister was being treated but he suffers from several ailments that requires constant treatment and care.
“He needs to be released. He is a chronic patient,” Chaudhari said.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, opposed the same and said he is getting proper treatment in jail whenever required. “His present medical condition needs to be ascertained. Medical condition is not static…it keeps changing,” Singh said.
Justice Karnik after hearing the matter briefly said the court would hear the bail plea on merits.
“I am satisfied that we can proceed with the hearing on merits and give it priority. This is my prima facie opinion that priority should be given. One of the medical ailment (that Deshmukh is suffering from) is degenerative,” Justice Karnik said.
The court said it would hear the plea on December 6.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader is in jail since November last year after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case. In April this year, he was arrested by the CBI in the corruption case.
He is presently in judicial custody and lodged at the Arthur Road prison.
Deshmukh was granted bail by the high court last month in the ED case. His bail plea in the corruption case was, however, rejected by the special CBI court noting that there was prima facie evidence against him.
Deshmukh in his bail plea in the HC said he is suffering from several ailments and is incarcerated since almost a year and the trial in the case may not commence anytime soon.
The plea alleged that the special court while refusing him bail has merely done a “cut, copy and paste” of the CBI charge-sheet.
IPS officer Param Bir Singh had in March 2021 alleged that Deshmukh, then home minister, had given a target to police officers to collect Rs 100 crore per month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai.
Former assistant police inspector Waze, arrested in the ‘Antilia’ bomb scare case in March 2021, too had levelled similar allegations.
The high court in April 2021 directed the CBI to carry out a preliminary inquiry. The CBI, based on this inquiry, registered an FIR against Deshmukh and his associates for alleged corruption and misuse of official power.