May 18, 2016 5:43:30 pm
The Supreme Court today refused to stay a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Pankaj Bhujbal, son of senior NCP leader Chaggan Bhujbal, in a money laundering case in connection with construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan in national capital.
The apex court asked Pankaj, who is evading arrest, to first take legal recourse before the Bombay High Court.
“You did not go to Bombay High Court and straightaway came to Supreme Court. Let the High Court first examine the matter. Let the High Court give the reasoning then we will see,” a vacation bench of Justices A M Sapre and Ashok Bhushan said.
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Counsel appearing for Pankaj said that one of the co-accused in the case had already been granted relief by the apex court and on the grounds of parity, the NBW issued can be stayed.
“What ground of parity. If one accused is granted relief by the court does not mean that you can also come to the Supreme Court. We have seen the files and allegations. The accused who was granted relief has first gone to Bombay High Court. If he can go to the High Court then why can’t you go to the High Court,” the bench said while granting the liberty to Pankaj to withdraw the plea and move High Court.
The apex court had earlier stayed the NBW of Krishna Chamankar, one of the 52 accused in the case.
A special PMLA court had on April 27 issued a NBW against Pankaj and others which was returnable on May 11. He has been since then evading arrest in the case.
The NBWs were also issued against some private persons named in the case after the special PMLA court at Mumbai had taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) in the matter.
Pankaj, an MLA in the Maharashtra Assembly, has been named in the FIR filed by the agency, besides his father and former State PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal and others, who was arrested by ED in the same case early this year.
The ED had on March 30 filed a 11,500-page chargesheet naming Chhagan Bhujbal, Pankaj, nephew Sameer, corporates like D B Realty, Balwa group of companies, Neelkamal Realtors and Builders Private Limited, Neelkamal Central Apartment LLP and Kakade Infrastructure.
The Enforcement Directorate has filed two FIRs against Bhujbals and others under the anti-money laundering laws, based on FIRs filed by the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau, to probe alleged irregularities in the construction of the state guesthouse ‘Maharashtra Sadan’ in Delhi and the Kalina land grabbing case here.
The High Court, in December 2014, had constituted a Special Investigation Team ( SIT) comprising the ED and state ACB officials to conduct the inquiry against Bhujbals and others.
The ACB complaint names Pankaj and Sameer for offences such as cheating, conspiracy, criminal breach of trust under the IPC, and under the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act.
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