The Mumbai Police is in a serious quandary after the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik to investigate a disproportionate assets case against Kripashankar Singh.
Sources said Patnaik would be hard-pressed to personally investigate such a case as it would require undivided time and attention besides a completely different set-up of officers. The police are contemplating approaching the High Court to put forward their limitations in executing such an order,sources added.
A Division Bench of the Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi directed the police to file an FIR against Singh and attach properties belonging to him and his family members under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The court also directed Patnaik to probe the matter and submit a report by April 19.
Senior Mumbai Police and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officers,who did not wish to be named,said the High Courts directive to the CP was unprecedented for such a case.
While we are yet to study the order,it has given rise to a lot of questions on how the investigation will be conducted. It is an unprecedented situation for the state government,the ACB and the Mumbai Police for the High Court to order the CP,specifically taking his name,to probe the matter himself and file a report within a stipulated period of time, said a senior ACB officer on condition of anonymity.
The courts order came during the hearing of a PIL filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari last year,who alleged that Singh had amassed crores of rupees disproportionate to his known sources of income.
A senior Mumbai Police officer said,The court ordered that the PIL be treated as an FIR and that the investigations should be based on the report submitted by the ACB on Singhs assets. Usually,the complainant and the investigating agency are separate. However,in disproportionate assets cases,the ACB is the complainant and also investigates the matter.
A disproportionate assets case such as this could take around a year. It would also require undivided attention and involve travelling to the listed properties of Singh and his relatives as well as the unlisted properties that may be unearthed during the probe. He would also have to travel out of state,to places such as Jharkhand,to investigate allegations raised in the PIL, said a senior Mumbai Police officer.
He added,The CP,who is in charge of the citys law and order and crime investigation machinery,would have to remove himself from his important daily duties for an extended period to carry out such a probe. The Mumbai Police does not even have the set-up required,such as the ACB,to carry out investigations in disproportionate assets cases.