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HC reserves order on ED plea seeking further custody of Sena MLA Sarnaik’s ‘close aide’

The Bombay High Court on Friday reserved its order on an application moved by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking further custody of Amit Chandole, an alleged close aide of Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, in connection with security firm Topsgrup's money laundering case.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | December 5, 2020 10:26:36 am
Pratap Sarnaik, NCP corporator made fortune in real estate, autorickshaw driver in real estate, real estate fortune, Mumbai news, Maharashtra news, Indian express newsShiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, appearing for ED, said that agency was given merely three days to interrogate Chandole and a special court order denying further custody was “erroneous” and should be set aside.

However, advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for Chandole, said that ED had got sufficient time to interrogate him. As it couldn’t find any incriminating against him, the special court order was justified, he added.

Read| Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik got kickbacks for facilitating Rs 175 cr govt contract: ED

A single-judge bench of Justice Prithviraj K Chavan was hearing an ED’s revision application, challenging the November 29 order of a special holiday sessions judge, who rejected the agency’s request for extension of remand of Chandole, an accused in a case filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED case is based on an FIR lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by a former employee of Topsgrup, Ramesh Iyer, alleging that the company had cheated the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) of Rs 175 crore.

The ED has alleged that some part of the amount paid by MMRDA had gone into Chandole’s private bank accounts.

The agency told HC that on November 27, it was given Chandole’s remand till only November 29. Thereafter, its application seeking his further custody was rejected by the special court.

Singh argued that the special court order was “bad in law” and that the ED had to go through a large number of bank records, computers, proceeds of crime, data and paperwork, including from MMRDA, with whom Topsgrup allegedly had signed a contract to provide security guards.

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