Court grants bail to NCP leader Eknath Khadse in Pune land deal case

A court here on Thursday granted bail to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse in an alleged money laundering case related to a land deal in Pune district involving his family members.

The former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, who is currently in the Sharad Pawar camp of the NCP, had obtained interim protection from arrest from the court in October 2021 which was continuing until now.

Khadse and his wife are named as accused in the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate in the case.

R N Rokade, special judge for criminal cases against MPs and MLAs, granted him bail on a bond of Rs 2,00,000 with one or more sureties in the like amount.

The court also directed Khadse, a former Maharashtra minister, not to leave India without its permission.

He shall not tamper with prosecution witnesses and evidence in any manner and cooperate for early disposal of the trial, the court said.

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Khadse, a senior minister in the previous BJP-led government in Maharashtra, had to step down in 2016 after he was accused of misusing his position to facilitate the purchase of government land in Bhosari industrial area near Pune by his wife and son-in-law Girish Chaudhary.

The Khadse family purchased the land for Rs 3.75 crore when its actual price was Rs 31.01 crore, the ED alleged.

In the bail application filed through advocates Mohan Tekavde and Swati Tekavde, Khadse argued that he had nothing to do with the land deal, and was not connected to any activity related to the alleged proceeds of crime.

The allegations in the chargesheet came out of political rivalry, he claimed.

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