PMLA Court verdict is upheld by Bombay High Court, Rejecting Sadanand Kadam’s Bail Plea

Based on allegations regarding the construction of a hotel in a No-Development Zone and the illegal discharge of wastewater into the sea, the ED had filed a case against Sadanand Kadam and other Shive Sena (UBT) leaders earlier this year.

The Bombay High Court has upheld the special court’s decision to deny Sadanand Kadam, an assistant to Shiv Sena (UBT) MLC Anil Parab, bail under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Judge MS Karnik backed the rejection, pointing out that the FIR filed at the Dapoli police station and the complaint from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) were both valid predicate offences.

Judge Karnik rejected the claim that the FIR at the Dapoli police station should not be considered a predicate offence because there isn’t a separate Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) for it. He said, “Merely because a separate ECIR is not registered on the basis of the FIR will not render the (Enforcement Directorate’s (ED)) complaint inconsequential.”

Based on the MoEF’s complaint regarding illegal effluent discharge into the sea and hotel construction in a No Development Zone, the ED filed a case against Parab, including Kadam. The ED then claimed that it was also a part of the predicate offence when a FIR was filed in Dapoli.

The legal team representing Kadam, which included Advocates Amit Desai, Sudeep Pasbola, Shardul Singh, Gopalakrishna Shenoy, and Prerna Gandhi, contended that the FIR at Dapoli could not be regarded as a predicate offence under the PMLA because there was no separate ECIR for it. They emphasized the revisional court’s quashing of the process on the MoEF complaint, arguing that Kadam’s predicate offense was no longer in effect.

In response, Justice Karnik said that the MoEF complaint and the FIR were included in the PMLA’s Special Court complaint. He said, “The scheduled offenses are some of the offenses related to the FIR. The materials used in the investigation into the MoEF complaint and the FIR are the basis for the complaint that has been filed.”

Kadam invoked the defense of double jeopardy, claiming that the charges in the FIR were almost exact duplicates of those in the MoEF complaint. Justice Karnik disagreed, saying, “The FIR though may be in relation to the same property, but is filed at the instance of a different entity and against so many accused who are not concerned with the private complaint of the MoEF.”

The Indian Penal Code offenses included in the FIR were emphasized by the court, suggesting possible connections to money laundering operations. Judge Karnik emphasized the variety of offenses, such as financial mismanagement and document manipulation.

In response to Kadam’s claim that statements made by businessman Vibhas Sathe of Pune suggested forgery in the land purchase, Justice Karnik upheld the statement’s evidentiary value. He emphasized that the statement was still valid and could not be withdrawn at this time due to the ongoing FIR quashing proceedings.