Merely Being Prosecuted for Money Laundering not Ground to Deny Nod for Passport Renewal: Court

Merely being prosecuted on money laundering charges is not a sufficient ground to deny permission for passport renewal, a special Mumbai court has said while granting nod to former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh’s son to apply for renewal of his passport.

Special Judge R N Rokade on Wednesday allowed the application filed by Salil Deshmukh, seeking a direction to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to return his seized passport so that he can apply for renewal.

The ED has accused Salil Deshmukh along with his father – former state home minister Anil Deshmukh – and some others of money laundering.

Salil Deshmukh was not formally arrested in the case by the ED. After the agency named him as an accused in its chargesheet, he appeared before the special court which granted him bail in November 2022.

In his application, Salil Deshmukh said his passport expired in January 2022. He sought permission to apply for renewal of the passport for a period of 10 years.

The agency opposed the plea arguing that Salil Deshmukh has not cooperated with the investigation and that there are chances of him absconding. It further said Salil Deshmukh was facing trial for money laundering offence which is serious in nature.

The court, however, noted permission is sought only for the renewal of passport and it is also not the case of the ED that Salil Deshmukh has breached any of the conditions imposed on him while granting him bail.

The prosecution has not put forth any valid grounds for rejection of the application, it added.

“Merely being prosecuted under section 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (money laundering) is not sufficient to deny permission to the applicant (Salil Deshmukh) for renewal of the passport,” the court said.

It said the ED’s apprehension could be addressed by imposing conditions.

The court directed the ED to hand over the passport to Salil Deshmukh so that he could apply for renewal.

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Aafter renewal, Salil Deshmukh shall submit the passport to the ED again, the court said.

The ED began its probe against Anil Deshmukh, his family members and his former associates after the CBI registered a case against him over allegations of extortion made by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The agency claimed Anil Deshmukh misused his official position and collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars and restaurants in Mumbai.

The money was channelled to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by the Deshmukh family, the ED alleged.

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