Bombay HC extends protection to NCP's Khadse till Feb 24 in land deal case

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Mumbai, Feb 17 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Wednesday extended till February 24 the interim protection from coercive action granted to Maharashtra NCP leader Eknath Khadse in a land deal case.

The former BJP minister approached the high court in January urging it to quash the summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the agency in October 2020.

Last month, the ED had opposed Khadse's plea, saying it was 'not maintainable.' Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the ED, had told a bench of justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale that an ECIR was not like an FIR but an internal document.

Therefore, there was no question of quashing of the ECIR, Singh had said.

The summons and ECIR pertain to a case the ED had lodged in connection with the 2016 land deal involving Khadse's family in Pune's Bhosari area.

Senior advocate Abad Ponda, who appeared for Khadse, argued on Wednesday that the NCP leader was entitled to seeking every relief from the high court, including the quashing of summons.

The court adjourned further hearing in the case to February 24 and extended till then, the interim protection that it had granted to Khadse on the last hearing.

In mid-January, Khadse (68), who quit the BJP and joined the NCP last year, had appeared before the ED in connection with the case.

He had resigned from the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet in 2016 after facing allegations regarding the controversial land deal.

It was alleged that he misused his official powers to facilitate the purchase of government land by his family. Khadse has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier, the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had investigated the matter and submitted a closure report. PTI AYA RSY ZMN