MUMBAI: The special CBI court on Friday reserved an order on the bail plea filed by dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze in connection with the corruption case registered against the former home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.
Vaze on Friday argued his bail plea in person and pleaded that he is a victim of circumstances. He argued that CBI consented to grant him pardon and turn him into a witness but now he is being treated like an accused.
“I am not an accused; I am a witness in the case. I am entitled to dropping off proceedings or a formal order of my release. I am an unfortunate person, who has been pardoned but is being kept in jail,” he submitted.
He contended that he cannot be kept in prison even after granting pardon, in the name of protecting him. “If a person wants to seek pardon to help an agency, and he is continued to be kept in jail under the guise of being protected, it will be an irony,” Vaze argued.
He also pointed out that even if he is granted pardon, it’s not that he will come out of prison, he still would be in judicial custody in other cases lodged against him.
The plea was objected to by special public prosecutor Raja Thakkare who contended that Vaze is produced before this court in the capacity as an arrested accused person.
The criminal procedure code, provides for grant of pardon to an accused but that doesn’t mean that he is discharged from the case. He argued that the call on his discharge can be taken only after he deposes before the court and the prosecution certifies that he can be granted pardon.
After hearing both sides, the court will now pronounce the order on April 4.
Deshmukh came under scanner over corruption allegations after former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. In a letter written to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on March 20, 2021, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh instructed certain Mumbai police officers, including Vaze, to collect an amount of ₹100 crore every month from Mumbai’s restaurants and bars.
On the basis of the complaint registered by CBI, The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a money laundering case against Deshmukh, his son Hrishikesh and others on the basis of the April 2021 FIR. The ED, in its probe, has already found that on Deshmukh’s instructions, Vaze had allegedly called a meeting of bar owners, and between December 2020 and February 2021, collected ₹4.7 crore from owners of orchestra bars in Mumbai. In his statement to the ED, Vaze revealed that he had handed over the “extorted money” in two instalments to Kundan Shinde.