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Chhagan Bhujbal challenges constitutional validity of PMLA sections

According to an ED official, the agency is likely to conduct a third and final round of attachment of assets of the Bhujbal family.

Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal. (Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal has moved the Bombay High Court, challenging the constitutional validity of certain sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said official sources familiar with the development.

“Bhujbal’s writ petition filed on August 11 has specifically challenged two sections — 19 and 45 — of the PMLA among others,” said a source.

Section 19 of the PMLA empowers the ED to arrest an accused based on the evidence gathered by the agency against the individual whereas section 45 deals with the bail of the accused. Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer are currently lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail after the agency arrested them earlier this year. In May, a lower court dismissed the bail application of Chhagan Bhujbal on medical grounds.

According to an ED official, the agency is likely to conduct a third and final round of attachment of assets of the Bhujbal family. So far, the ED has attached Bhujbals’ assets worth Rs 433 crore in the PMLA case.

The ED has alleged that the Bhujbal family, along with several others, had conspired to divert or ‘launder’ kickbacks received by Chhagan Bhujbal, when he was Maharashtra’s Public Works Department minister. In June 2015, the ED filed a money launderingcase against Chhagan Bhujbal and his relatives.

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