Court rejects ED plea for Bhujbal’s further custody
A city court on Thursday rejected the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) plea for further custody of former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister of Chhagan Bhujbal, arrested in a money-laundering case, saying sufficient grounds were not made out for this.
The ED had sought seven more days custody of Bhujbal, but judge PR Bhavke of the special court for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases sent the senior NCP leader in judicial custody till March 31, saying “sufficient ground was not made out for further remand”.
Bhujbal, arrested on March 14, will be lodged in high-security Arthur Road jail here. Bhujbal, however, told the court that statements of some of the witnesses were a lie and concocted stories. Referring to the statement of one of the witnesses, an employee of the Mumbai Education Trust controlled by the Bhujbal family that he had seen bags of cash being brought to the office, Bhujbal questioned what was he doing there.
“I had gone gone to the MET office’s guesthouse late in the night (that day) as I had to catch a flight early in the morning. What was this witness....doing there late at night when the people at MET leave for home at 5.30 pm?” he said.
He also complained that ED officers recorded his statement till 4.30 pm on Wednesday and again turned up to question him further at 11.30 at night.
“I told them they can take my statement early in the morning today. I woke up early today. I told the ED officials that we have to go to the court today, so why were they delaying. They said they were busy with other work and kept me waiting,” he told the court.
Bhujbal is accused of receiving kickbacks in awarding of contract for the state guest-house ‘Maharashtra Sadan' in New Delhi and laundering this money through various ways.