The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted interim protection from arrest for one week to NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse in a money laundering case pertaining to a 2016 Pune land deal matter.
A single bench of Justice N W Sambre directed Mr Khadse to approach the special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court to seek regular bail.
The court was hearing an application filed by Mr Khadse seeking pre-arrest bail in the case.
Mr Khadse's counsel Shirish Gupte argued that a charge sheet in the case has already been filed and he was never arrested during the investigation into the case.
Earlier this month, the special court summoned Mr Khadse to appear before it after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the ED, on Thursday argued that Mr Khadse will have to approach the special court for regular bail.
Justice Sambre said, "The applicant shall file for regular bail or seek interim bail before the special court in one week from today. The special court shall not take the applicant in custody for one week and shall decide the bail plea expeditiously."
Besides Mr Khadse, his wife Mandakini and their son-in-law Girish Chaudhary are also named as accused in the case. Girish Chaudhary was arrested in the case a few months back and is currently in judicial custody.
The ED has alleged that Girish Chaudhary and Eknath Khadse had purchased a government land in Bhosari near Pune for Rs 3.75 crore when its actual cost was Rs 31.01 crore.
The prosecution's case is that Mr Khadse allegedly misused his official position as state revenue minister at that time to facilitate the transaction.
In June 2016, Mr Khadse resigned as revenue minister of the then BJP-led state government following controversy over the purchase of land.
He quit the BJP in October last year and later joined the NCP.