A special CBI court on Saturday refused to grant further custody of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh to the central agency stating that the grounds cited by the CBI were unsatisfactory. The agency, which arrested Deshmukh in connection with a corruption case on April 11, had sought his further custody for three days.
“In my view, sufficient CBI custody of accused Shri Anil Deshmukh has already been granted. Pertinently in earlier remand applications, the CBI had based their grounds for seeking CBI custody of accused Shri Anil Deshmukh as per the allegations in the FIR about exercising influence over the transfer and posting of officials and considering the said grounds, the CBI custody was granted. Therefore, in my view, since sufficient CBI custody was granted, the grounds for further custody… stated in the remand application are not good and satisfactory,” special Judge D P Shingade said in his order. The court sent Deshmukh and three other accused to judicial custody till April 29.
The CBI had earlier this month arrested Deshmukh, two of his staffers – Sanjeev Palande and Kundan Shinde – and dismissed cop Sachin Waze. While the agency requested that the others be sent to judicial custody as their custodial interrogation was not needed, it sought Deshmukh’s custody.
Special public prosecutor Ratandeep Singh told the court that the allegations against Deshmukh include accepting bribes for police transfers and postings. The CBI’s remand plea said police officers who paid bribes for transfers and postings have to be identified and confronted with the former minister.
Deshmukh, through his lawyers Aniket Nikam, Inderpal Singh and Geeta Chataule, opposed the CBI plea stating that he was already in custody for 11 days. Nikam submitted to the court that the central agency had in its remand plea only given stereotypical reasons for further custody. He also argued that there was no progress shown in the probe. “The agency is seeking further custody of a 73-year-old man on flimsy grounds. There are no details of the progress made or confrontation done with others in custody,” Nikam argued.
The court directed that all accused, who were already in judicial custody in a separate money laundering case by the ED along with Waze who was also in custody for the Antilia terror scare case, be transferred back to jail.
A separate plea filed by lawyer Shekhar Jagtap representing Palande sought directions to the CBI to preserve CCTV footage from the agency’s office where the accused were interrogated, but the plea was disposed of. The court said the lawyer was at liberty to approach an appropriate forum in the matter. Jagtap had said that there was no CCTV camera in the interrogation room of the CBI office, which was in violation of guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court.