THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) has been given extension till June 13 to execute the non-bailable warrants issued against 34 accused, including MLA Pankaj Bhujbal, in the Maharashtra Sadan scam.
The Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court had issued the warrants on April 27 after taking cognisance of the prosecution report — equivalent of a chargesheet — filed by the ED. The deadline set by the court for the accused to be brought to court or for them to surrender was of May 11.
On Wednesday, however, the ED had sought an extension on the grounds that many of the accused were unavailable and that they were short-staffed to execute all warrants.
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Special PMLA Judge PR Bhavake had sought a report of the action taken so far from the ED, on the basis of which the extension has been granted. The ED will now be executing the warrants by producing the accused it is able to trace before the court. “The warrants are issued by the court to secure the presence of each of the accused before the trial is commenced. It will be the court’s decision on whether to grant bail to the accused once they are produced,” said an ED official.
Further, applications seeking interim relief sought by developers Vinod Goenka and Asif Balwa was rejected by the court. The relief was seeking stay on the non-bailable warrants issued against them. The hearing on the applications seeking anticipatory bail by the accused has been adjourned.
Meanwhile, the court will decide on the bail application of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal on Friday.
Bhujbal, who has been at Arthur Road jail along with nephew Sameer Bhujbal for nearly two months, has sought bail on medical grounds.
The ED is investigating alleged money-laundering charges to the tune of Rs 887 crore against 53 accused in the case.