Bail denied: Malik, Deshmukh can't vote in Rajya Sabha polls
A day before the crucial June 10 Rajya Sabha elections, a special Mumbai court on Thursday rejected the bail pleas of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and state minister Nawab Malik seeking a day's relief to cast their votes. Deshmukh and Malik, both senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders, are currently lodged in jail in connection with different money laundering cases.
Why does this story matter?
- The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) can comfortably win three of the six seats for which 288 MLAs will vote.
- The BJP with 106 MLAs can easily win two. However, there is a close contest for the sixth seat.
- Therefore, every vote is crucial for the MVA, of which the NCP is a part, to get their candidate elected.
Both sought day's relief to cast votes in RS polls
Both the leaders had sought a day's relief to cast vote in the Rajya Sabha elections. However, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had opposed the pleas saying that prisoners don't have the voting rights under the Representation of the People (RP) Act. "A person confined in prison cannot vote, whether he is under sentence or an undertrial, that doesn't make a difference," the ED argued.
What did Malik, Deshmukh say in court?
Nawab Malik told the court that he is an elected MLA and is duty-bound to represent his constituency in electing a representative to Rajya Sabha. Senior advocate Abad Ponda argued on behalf of Deshmukh that the restriction to vote was only to persons confined in prison under a sentence of imprisonment and custody was not confinement as contemplated under the RP Act.
Allow Deshmukh to go for voting under escort: Lawyer
On the ED's argument that prisoners don't have the voting rights, Deshmukh's lawyer Ponda had said that he could go under escort (to the voting spot) and the rest can be done by the concerned department. Malik's advocate Amit Desai said, "I have not come here to enforce my rights, but my duty...your honor may do as he pleases."
Cases against Deshmukh, Malik
In April, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Deshmukh in the corruption case registered against him. Malik was arrested in February in connection with a money laundering case linked to wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim.