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Bhujbal will stay in jail till March 31

Published On : 18 Mar 2016

Mumbai (The Hindu): Rejecting the Enforcement Directorate’s request for a seven-day custody, a Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court on Thursday remanded the NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal in judicial custody till March 31.

Agency’s lawyer Hiten Venegavkar informed the court that the ED got only one day to question Mr Bhujbal about the facts and that it was impossible to carry out investigation as he complained of chest pain on Wednesday evening. He said doctors were summoned from JJ Hospital and St George’s Hospital and all of them opined that he was ‘fit and fine’. The agency was unable to confront nephew Sameer and uncle Chhagan on statements made by some witnesses.

Urging for an extension of his custody, Mr Venegavkar said, “The crucial part (of the investigation) has not been completed.”

Mr Venegavkar presented the remand application that read, “On March 16, statements of certain individuals closely connected to MET have been recorded. They have confirmed their earlier deposition and stated that huge cash was paid to market operators at MET office by Sameer Bhujbal to convert it into cheque payments; that there were no genuine business activities being carried out by the entities controlled by Mr Bhujbal to generate such a huge income and that also in cash.”

Contesting the ED’s stand on Mr Bhujbal’s health, senior counsel P K Dhakephalkar told the court that he is 69 years old and has medical problems. “The agency is not investigating a 25-year-old robust man, and he has chronic asthma that leads to breathlessness and chest pain. It can’t be said that he is making a false claim.”

The court said sufficient ground has not been made out by the agency to collect independent evidence against the accused (Bhujbal). There is no question of any confrontation of the statement of the witnesses with the interrogation of the accused.

Meanwhile, Preeti Menon, AAP member, intervened and informed the court that some witnesses in the case have approached the party and said they are facing some threats and sought police protection.

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