March 10, 2021 12:56:35 am
NCP leader and former State Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that the inquiry by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him in the Pune land deal case was launched only after he moved from the BJP to the NCP, and his apprehension of arrest justified.
He submitted that while the land deal complaint was registered in 2016 and a closure report filed in 2018 by police, the ED had not been in picture. The central agency had swung into action only after he changed the political party.
Hearing a plea by Khadse against the ED, a division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale had on Monday asked the central agency why it was necessary to arrest him if he was cooperating with the probe.
The ED had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) last October in connection with a case on the 2016 land deal in Bhosari, Pune. It had sent notice to Khadse in December 2020. Khadse had moved a criminal writ petition before the high court, seeking quashing of the ECIR and sought interim protection from coercive action.
“The ED was not in a picture. All this has happened because I (Khadse) moved from one political party to another in October 2020.” Senior Counsel, representing Khadse, Aabad Ponda said.
Khadse added that as the present case involved economic offences, there was a bar on getting anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for such offences under special laws and therefore, he was seeking recourse through the writ plea.
Ponda also submitted that Khadse was having multiple health problems and had to be hospitalised regularly and therefore, he should be protected from coercive action.
Due to paucity of time, the court adjourned the hearing to March 15 when it will hear Khadse and the ED on maintainability of the petition and merits of the case.
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