The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of Humayun Merchant, arrested in connection with a money laundering case involving gangster Iqbal Mirchi.
Lodged at Taloja jail since his arrest in October last year, Merchant’s bail pleas were rejected twice by the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, following which he had moved the high court seeking bail on medical grounds.
On Wednesday, a single-judge bench of Justice Bharati H Dangre passed the order rejecting his bail after hearing the plea through video-conference.
The ED had arrested the “aide” of late gangster Iqbal Memon alias Iqbal Mirchi in connection with an alleged illegal dealing of his properties to the tune of Rs 200 crore in October last year. The ED had alleged that Mirchi had given the power of attorney to Merchant, who had contacted builders and arranged meetings between the gangster and his family in Dubai.
In May this year, the HC had rejected Merchant’s bail application wherein he had challenged the decision taken by a high-powered committee formed as per Supreme Court order to decongest prisons in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Thereafter, Merchant, a septuagenarian, moved the HC with a bail plea in July this year. The plea stated that his “continued incarceration” was against the doctrine of “bail is a rule and jail is an exception”. It said his medical condition was “constantly deteriorating” and pleas for home food were time and again rejected even though he was prescribed “high fibre” and “low cholesterol” diet. It also stated that he has a history of “acute ischemic stroke caused by a blockage in a blood vessel”.
The ED had opposed the plea and said Merchant had played a major role in the case and cannot be released on bail.
The prosecution also said sufficient medical facilities were provided to the inmates by the jail authorities, and therefore, Merchant should not be given bail on medical grounds.
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