In the plea filed through Aniket Nikam, Deshmukh had stated that since no cognisance was taken by the Special Court of the chargesheet within the statutory period of 60 days as prescribed under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), he was entitled to statutory bail.
Deshmukh’s counsel, Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhri, had argued that excluding the date of the first remand, a period of 60 days had elapsed and a statutory embargo was created on any further custody as per Section 167.
Chaudhri claimed that the ED had extended Deshmukh’s judicial remand on December 27, 2021, till January 9, 2022 without disclosing the above fact, which he added was non-est in law.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in its reply through advocate Shreeram Shirsat had stated that statutory bail cannot be considered by the Court once a chargesheet and/or supplementary chargesheet had been filed.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh apprised the Court that the supplementary chargesheet against Deshmukh had been filed on December 29, 2021, which was within the 60-day period when counted from the date of arrest (November 2, 2021).
The question of cognisance is irrelevant for ascertaining right of default bail since Section 167(2) only pertains to completion of investigation within stipulated time, he had contended.
Deshmukh has been in judicial custody since November 15, 2021 in connection with the probe initiated by the ED after the filed a first information report (FIR) following a into allegations of corruption and misuse of his official position.
Simultaneously, Deshmukh had challenged the summons before the Bombay High Court, which dismissed his petition while directing him to take appropriate steps to approach the courts for anticipatory bail.
The former Maharashtra Home Minister appeared before the ED officials on Monday, November 1. After interrogation for about 12 hours, he was arrested post midnight on Tuesday. A Mumbai court had then allowed ED custody of Deshmukh till November 6, 2021.
A Sessions Court then turned down the ED’s plea for extension of custody, and he was remanded to judicial custody of 14 days. This order was set aside by the Bombay High Court in a special Sunday sitting after ED challenged the same.
The High Court then remanded Deshmukh to ED custody till November 12, which was extended till November 15. After that, the NCP leader was sent to judicial custody where he remains till date
Read more about the hearing here.