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Bhujbal says application against him to tarnish image

Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, arrested in a money laundering case, today said the application filed by an activist questioning his prolonged stay at hospital was aimed at obfuscating the main issue of his health and maligning his image.

Activist Anjali Damania had last month approached the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases, contending that due to “negligence of duty” by the government-run J J Hospital and the Arthur Road jail authorities, Bhujbal was living in the private-run Bombay Hospital since November 2.

The NCP leader was “misusing” a court order, she had said.

Bhujbal, in his reply filed today, questioned Damania’s locus standi (right to move the court). Her application was aimed at “derailing the main purpose” (health issues for which he was hospitalised) and focused on maligning his image, he said and sought dismissal of her plea.

Damania also alleged that several politicians met Bhujbal in the hospital without the court’s permission.

The court is likely to take up the matter next week.

Following Damania’s plea, on December 14 the court had directed that Bhujbal be sent back to the jail.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested Bhujbal, who held PWD portfolio in the previous Congress-NCP government, on March 14 this year.

FIR in the case alleged irregularities in contract for construction of Maharashtra Sadan, state guest-house in Delhi built at the cost of Rs 100 crore, and payment of kickbacks to Bhujbal.

Another FIR alleged that Bhujbal received kickbacks in the contract for state central library on Kalina campus of Mumbai University.