A special court in Ahmedabad on Saturday (May 6) granted bail to Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Saket Gokhale in a money-laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in a crowd-funding initiative.
Special judge DM Vyas granted regular bail to Gokhale who, according to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), had misused funds amounting to Rs 1.07 crore and was arrested by the agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in January.
Gokhale’s lawyer Anand Yagnik said his client is likely to be released from the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad on Monday after completion of formalities.
According to ED, Gokhale had raised funds from people through campaigns run on online platforms Ourdemocracy.in and Razorpay. The fund thus raised was allegedly utilised and diverted for Gokhale’s personal expenses instead of the intended purpose, the ED said.
The special Ahmedabad court in February rejected Gokhale’s plea for regular bail on the grounds of the pending investigation.
Also read: ‘PM hurt by tweet, not by death of 135 people’, Gokhale takes a jibe at BJP
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court granted Gokhale regular bail in a case in which he was arrested by the Ahmedabad Police in December last year.
Simultaneously, the ED concluded its investigation into the PMLA case and registered a complaint under sections 44 and 45 of the PMLA for the money-laundering trial against him.
Gokhale once again moved an application for regular bail before the court, which allowed his plea and ordered his release on Saturday.
The Ahmedabad cybercrime police arrested Gokhale on December 6 for allegedly spreading fake news regarding the cost incurred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi, where more than 130 people were killed in a bridge collapse.
He secured bail in this case. However, Morbi police arrested him on December 8 for the same offence registered there and was granted bail the next day.
Also read: Democracy in shambles: TMC’s Abhishek on Saket Gokhale’s re-arrest after bail in Gujarat
On December 1, 2022, Gokhale shared a news clipping about information purportedly obtained through the RTI (Right to Information) claiming that Modi’s visit to Morbi after the bridge collapse had cost Rs 30 crore.
Ahmedabad Police arrested Gokhale for the third time on December 28 for allegedly siphoning off money collected through crowdfunding, and his custody was handed over to the ED on January 25 in a money-laundering case related to it.
(With agency inputs)