The Bombay High Court on Monday granted interim bail to an aide of Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) MLA Pratap Sarnaik in a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED case is linked to a probe against the Tops Group security service provider company, its promoters and others in connection with alleged financial irregularities in providing security guards for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) projects.
A single bench of Justice M S Karnik granted interim bail to MLA Sarnaik’s aide Amit Chandole, who was also a promoter of the security firm, and M Sasidharan, its former managing director.
The duo had approached the high court after a special PMLA court rejected their bail plea.
Mr Chandole and Mr Sasidharan had sought release from prison in the light of the Supreme Court ruling that a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cannot continue if there is no prior First Information Report registered by another agency.
As per the PMLA provisions, a prior ‘scheduled offence’ is a requisite for the ED to initiate action against a person.
Mr Chandole was arrested in November 2020, while Mr Sasidharan had been arrested a few months earlier. The probe agency had registered its complaint on the basis of a case registered by the Mumbai police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
However, the EOW in January 2022 had filed a closure report before a magistrate’s court citing that there was no evidence of crime, which the court had accepted in September.
The special judge had rejected their pleas on the ground that the 90-day period for the Mumbai police to file an appeal against the closure of the case was not yet over.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)