The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday opposed the pleas of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and minister Nawab Malik seeking one-day bail to vote in the June 10 Rajya Sabha elections, saying prisoners don’t have the voting rights under the Representation of the People (RP) Act. Deshmukh and Malik, both NCP leaders who are currently lodged in jail in connection with different money laundering cases, had sought temporary bail from a special court last week to vote in the RS polls.
In its reply, the ED told the special court that Deshmukh is the main accused in the money laundering case registered against him and is currently in judicial custody after being arrested in November last year. ”Further, it is pertinent to mention that prisoners do not have voting rights under the Representation of People (RP) Act,” the probe agency said, adding that, hence, the said application is liable to be rejected at the very threshold. The ED opposed Malik’s plea on similar grounds.
In his bail application, Deshmukh said, ”Being a standing MLA, the applicant (Deshmukh) is a member of the Electoral College for the election of members to the Rajya Sabha. The applicant is desirous to exercise his franchise and cast his vote.” The matter will be heard further on Wednesday. As per the ED, Deshmukh had misused his position as state home minister and collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars in Mumbai through some police officers.
Malik was arrested by the ED on February 23 this year in a money laundering case linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. After more than two decades, the state will witness a contest in the Rajya Sabha polls as there are seven candidates in the fray for the six seats. The ruling Shiv Sena has fielded two candidates, its MVA allies NCP and Congress have nominated one candidate each, while the opposition BJP has put up three candidates.
The contest for the sixth seat lies between BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Pawar.