A SPECIAL court has allowed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal to vote in the Presidential election. Bhujbal, who has been in custody since 2016, is lodged at Arthur Road jail. Last week, he had approached the special court designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) seeking directive to vote stating that it was his “constitutional right” as a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
The special court allowed his plea and directed the superintendent of Arthur Road jail and the Mumbai Police commissioner to take appropriate steps for producing him at the place of polling with sufficient police escort.
“After casting his vote, he shall immediately be taken back to Arthur Road jail,” the order states. It has further directed the registrar of the sessions court to communicate the order to the Election Commission of India as well as the principal secretary of the Maharashtra Secretariat.
Election for the President is likely to be held at the Vidhan Sabha in South Mumbai on July 17.Last week, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had opposed the plea filed by Bhujbal through his lawyer Shalabh Saxena stating that it would require special provision to be made by the Election Commission, which can only be done by the High Court in a writ jurisdiction.
The court on Monday also allowed Bhujbal’s application permitting him to have legal consultations at Arthur Road jail with his lawyer for a period of three weeks. Bhujbal, along with nephew Sameer, has been in custody over offences under the PMLA for alleged money laundering and misappropriation of funds from kickbacks received for favouring contractors in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi and Kalina central library.