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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

CBI FIR arbitrary and illegal, lodged sans consent of state: Anil Deshmukh to Bombay HC

Anil Deshmukh's counsels said that CBI has bypassed procedures by not availing prior approvals from the state to investigate a public servant under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, as the allegations were made when Deshmukh was a sitting minister.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 3, 2021 7:39:39 am
Anil Deshmukh during a press conference in Mumbai. (Express Photo/File)

Former home minister Anil Deshmukh, while arguing against the CBI naming him an accused in an corruption FIR, told the Bombay High Court on Friday that the central agency has failed to take the consent of the Maharashtra government before registering the FIR and conducting the probe.

Deshmukh’s counsels said that CBI has bypassed procedures by not availing prior approvals from the state to investigate a public servant under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, as the allegations were made when Deshmukh was a sitting minister. They termed CBI’s action as “illegal” and “arbitrary” and in breach of law.

The counsels said that as per Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, the consent of the state was required before registering the FIR, as Maharashtra government had withdrawn its general consent to CBI last year. Also, HC had ordered only a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Deshmukh, they added.

“The CBI had a duty to apply for permission from the state because it is very easy for a false allegation to be made. We may get carried away with emotions but cannot bypass procedures. I always say, even a person like Kasab (terrorist who executed 26/11 Mumbai attacks) got the benefit of rule of law. Everyone in this country gets benefit of the process of law,” senior counsel Amit Desai said.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar was hearing Deshmukh’s writ petition challenging the FIR filed by CBI against him and unknown persons on charges of bribery, corruption and criminal conspiracy.

The HC had on April 5 ordered a PE based on a complaint filed by lawyer Jaishri Patil, who had referred to former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s March 20 letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while making corruption charges against Deshmukh and others.

On Friday, the HC pointed out that while as per Section 17A of the PC Act, a public servant, while discharging his or her official functions or duties, is protected, as per CBI’s affidavit, Deshmukh indulged in corruption and interfered in transfers and postings of police officers while he was not discharging his official duties.

Desai, along with advocate Kamlesh Ghumre, however, said as per the CBI FIR, Deshmukh’s acts, including having knowledge of the reinstatement of Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze were in discharge of his public duty and therefore, the protection was applicable to him.

‘Won’t arrest Param Bir, Rashmi Shukla till July 6’

The Bombay High Court adjourned till July 5 hearing on pleas filed by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh seeking quashing of an FIR lodged against him by the Thane Police under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Maharashtra government counsel said no coercive action, including arrest, will be taken against Singh till July 6.

The HC also adjourned till July 5 hearing on a plea filed by senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla in the illegal phone tapping case registered by Mumbai Police.

The state assured HC that no coercive steps, including arrest, will be taken against Shukla till July 6. (ENS)

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