The Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, recently informed the Bombay High Court that no cognisable offence was made out against former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal in a case where he has been accused of misappropriation of funds of the Mumbai Education Trust (MET).
The High Court had in September asked the police chief to take an appropriate decision after both the Economic Offences Wing and the Anti Corruption Bureau submitted reports stating they had not found any cognisable offence in the allegations against Bhujbal. They said the jurisdiction in the matter lay with the Charity Commissioner. A division Bench of Justice N H Patil and Justice P D Naik then directed the city police commissioner to decide on it within two weeks.
The bench was hearing a petition by Sunil Karve, former founder trustee of Bhujbal’s Mumbai Education Trust, seeking an FIR against the NCP leader and his family members for misappropriating the Trust’s funds. “On perusal of the papers and relevant documents, it appears that allegations of the petitioner are civil in nature and come under the purview of Charity Commissioner, Mumbai. Therefore, I endorse the previous view taken by the Economic Offence Wing, Mumbai, in this matter. However, the High Court may pass an appropriate order,” Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar told the court on October 13. The matter has been kept for further hearing on October 24.
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Bhujbal is in judicial custody after his arrest on March 14 by the Enforcement Directorate in a separate case of money laundering. He had sought bail in the last week of September challenging the constitutional validity of certain sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, but the HC had refused him the relief.