Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Wednesday extended till December 27 the stay on its order granting bail to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh in a corruption case being probed by the CBI.
A single bench of Justice M S Karnik December 12 granted bail to the 73-year-old Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in the corruption case but said the order will be effective after 10 days, as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sought time to challenge it in the apex court.
The probe agency Friday moved the Supreme Court but the plea would be heard only in January 2023 after vacation.
On Tuesday, the CBI, through Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh urged Justice Karnik of the high court to extend the earlier stay till January 3.
This court had granted bail but it was not to be affected. The Supreme Court doesn’t have a vacation bench, unfortunately. So the order may be extended till January 3, Singh had said.
When the matter was called Wednesday, the ASG urged the bench to “protect him for a reasonable time.”
However, Aniket Nikam, appearing for Deshmukh, submitted they (CBI) have the remedy of approaching the vacation registrar available in the apex court but they don’t want to exercise that.
“Why my liberty should be curtailed for even one more day when I have been granted bail after a full hearing,” Nikam argued.
ASG Singh responded by saying their (CBI’s) Supreme Court advocate contacted the registry, but it is very difficult to get the matter listed.
He pleaded the stay on the bail order of Deshmukh may be extended at least till Tuesday (December 27), which the HC allowed.
The high court while granting bail to Deshmukh had noted that except for dismissed police officer Sachin Waze’s statement, none recorded by the CBI indicated money was extorted from bar owners in Mumbai at the behest of the politician.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh 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.
Waze, arrested in the case of an explosives-laden vehicle found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in Mumbai last year, had also levelled similar allegations.
In April 2021, the high court directed the CBI to carry out a preliminary inquiry. The CBI, based on this inquiry, registered an FIR against Deshmukh and others for alleged corruption and misuse of official power.