The ED withdrawal came after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Maharashtra government on Thursday informed the HC that their investigation did not reveal any role of ED officers. The ACB noted not a single officer of the central agency was accused in the FIR and nor does it intend to treat any ED officer as suspect or an accused. “The apprehension that the investigation agency is likely to take coercive steps against its officers is merely an imagination of the petitioner,” said an affidavit filed by the ACB.
Earlier in July, a special investigation team (SIT) of the city police had found no merit in the allegations of extortion and cheating levelled by Shiv Sena leader Arvind Bhosale against South Mumbai-based businessman Jeetendra Navlani. In June, the Maharashtra government had sought that a stay granted by the Bombay HC on all further investigation by Mumbai ACB be vacated and the petition filed by filed by ED seeking transfer of probe in a complaint of cheating and under Prevention of Corruption Act against the hotelier Navlani and unknown officials, be dismissed as not maintainable. The ED in its rejoinder had earlier said that preliminary objections on maintainability are “denied as unsustainable both legally and factually.”
The Bombay HC vacation bench on June 1 had stayed all further investigation by Mumbai police in the FIR against Navlani registered on May 5 by the ACB for allegedly collecting over Rs 58 crore from businessmen between 2015-2021 by promising them protection from any action by the ED. The ED petition also sought protection for its officials. tnn