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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Pune land grab case: HC grants interim relief from arrest to Eknath Khadse’s wife

The High Court also said the applicant should cooperate with the probe and also asked the ED to file an affidavit in reply to the anticipatory bail application.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: October 14, 2021 5:34:36 pm
The ED had named Eknath, his wife, son-in-law Girish Chaudhari and two others as accused in a money-laundering case. (File)

The Bombay High Court Thursday, while granting interim relief from arrest to Mandakini Khadse, wife of NCP leader Eknath Khadse, directed her to appear before it every Tuesday and Friday from October 17 till further orders. Mandakini was booked in connection with a Pune land grab case and asked to cooperate with the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The court said that in the event of arrest by ED, she will be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000. The matter was posted for further hearing on December 7.

The High Court also said the applicant should cooperate with the probe and also asked the ED to file an affidavit in reply to the anticipatory bail application.

A single-judge bench of Justice Nitin W Sambre was hearing Mandakini’s plea, which was moved after the special court earlier this week rejected the same stating that it was not maintainable before it. Mandakini sought protection from arrest in the case through a pre-arrest bail plea.

A special court Tuesday issued a non-bailable warrant against Mandakini and the High Court said that she should cooperate with the probe.

The special court had directed Eknath and his wife to remain present before it after the ED filed a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) against them last month in an alleged money-laundering case.

Senior Advocate Raja Thakare representing Mandakini assured the High Court that she will appear before ED and cooperate in the investigation.

The special court had said that despite giving an undertaking that Mandakini would appear before it, she is “wilfully avoiding” appearance before the court. It held that the medical ground given for her exemption from appearance Tuesday was not satisfactory and issued a warrant against her.

“Considering her conduct and disobedience of the summons and undertaking, it is not just to grant time for her appearance. She is wilfully avoiding appearing before the court. Her absence is intentional,” the special court had said, issuing a non-bailable warrant.

Justice Sambre perused a special court order, which observed that the applicant had not co-operated and wilfully avoided when summons were issued.

After advocate Sandesh Patil appearing for ED raised objection to maintainability of the pre-arrest bail plea, the High Court noted that it has not gone into the details on the merits of the plea and kept ED’s contentions open to argue further.

The ED has named Eknath, his wife, son-in-law Girish Chaudhari and two others as accused in a money-laundering case, alleging that in 2016, when Eknath was Revenue Minister with BJP, he had misused his position in a land deal to benefit his family. While Chaudhari is in custody, another co-accused Ravindra Muley was granted bail last week.

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