The Bombay High Court Monday directed the CBI to start a preliminary inquiry within 15 days into corruption allegations of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
In an eight-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh asked now suspended and arrested assistant police inspector Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore every month, including Rs 40-50 crore from 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai. The court’s order also came on a plea filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Jaishri Patil.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni said, “We agree with Jaishri Patil that directions are required to order an unbiased probe to unearth the truth. There can be no independent probe if it is given to Police as Deshmukh is HM. The interest of justice will be done if the Director of CBI is allowed to conduct a preliminary inquiry. Such preliminary inquiry is ordered in accordance with law and be concluded within 15 days.”
Patil’s plea sought directions to secure CCTV footage of places where alleged criminal conspiracy took place in the Ambani house bomb scare case as per Param Bir Singh’s letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Deshmukh has denied the allegations against him.
In the previous hearing, the High Court had asked Singh repeatedly why no FIR was filed on his allegations against the Maharashtra Home Minister. It asked Singh why he had not filed a complaint on his allegations and if he did not have faith in his own police force. Chief Justice CJ Datta asked Singh, “Where is FIR? You have to approach the police/agency with FIR. Our prima facie observation [with respect to prayer seeking CBI probe] is that there cannot be investigation without FIR,” the bench said, questioning the maintainability of the PIL.
In his plea, Singh further said in August 2020, Rashmi Shukla, then Commissioner Intelligence, state intelligence department, had brought to the notice of the DGP about corruption in postings and transfers in Maharashtra. The DGP in turn had brought it to the knowledge of the Additional Chief Secretary (Home).