Updated: August 18, 2021 1:25:30 am
The Maharashtra government on Tuesday opposed a plea by the CBI seeking directions to the state to provide documents concerning the April 21 corruption FIR it had registered against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh and others in the Bombay High Court.
The CBI had alleged that the Maharashtra Police was issuing threats to the Central agency and not handing over the documents in compliance with the July 22 HC order.
In response, the state government submitted an affidavit to a division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar, stating that
the entire application by CBI was “blissfully vague” and “eloquently silent” as to how the documents sought by the central agency were “relevant material and needed” for the probe.
The state government said that the CBI was “overstepping its authority and jurisdiction” in demanding the document and also abusing various court orders.
The CBI plea said that on July 23, it had written to the state intelligence department (SID) seeking certified copies and information about the letter/report by senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla regarding corruption in transfers and postings of police officers. However, the SID, through a letter dated July 27, refused to hand over the documents in “utter defiance” of the HC order, the petition added.
The CBI plea also said that the cybercrime police station in Mumbai was asked to hand over a certified copy of Rashmi Shukla’s report but it was refused through a letter dated July 26. The CBI had also sought communication addressed by Shukla to the then director-general of police (DGP) highlighting corruption in transfer and postings, which has not been provided yet.
An affidavit filed through Kailas Gaikwad, joint-secretary, state home department, stated that the government and its officials were “duty-bound” to cooperate in the probe initiated by CBI and willing to fully assist with the Central agency, “provided the investigation is done strictly within the four corners of orders passed by HC” and that the state does not have any “malafide intention” to defy the HC orders.
The state home department said, “Despite the HC in its April 5 order, which initiated preliminary enquiry (PE), clarified that the CBI was not given ‘unfettered authority’ to inquire into transfer and postings of police officers generally, having no nexus with the offences against Deshmukh and his associates, the present application seeking documents is nothing but an attempt to defy mandate of HC.”
The government said that the documents demanded by CBI have “no nexus whatsoever” either with Deshmukh and his associates or any of allegations made against him, and therefore not required to be handed over to the Central agency.
The home department further said that CBI’s plea was “completely vague and filed purely based on conjectures and surmises” and not at all maintainable as per law and facts of the case. The government said that CBI has adequate remedies in law to raise grievances.
The state government said that by demanding such documents, the Central agency was “interfering into the investigation being carried out by cyber police station Mumbai in the “phone tapping” case lodged in March this year.
The state government said that until the relevancy of material sought by CBI is “expressly demonstrated” to the HC, the Central agency was not entitled to demand them, and therefore the plea is “devoid of merit” and ought to be dismissed.
HC will consider the CBI’s plea and state’s response later this week.
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