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Monday, July 26, 2021

CBI says quashing Deshmukh FIR will stall probe, HC reserves verdict

The court asked the CBI if police officers, who reinstated Waze, could claim impunity stating that they were unaware of his past records and antecedents.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
July 13, 2021 1:06:03 am
Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh has been accused of bribery, corruption and criminal conspiracy. (File Photo)

The CBI on Monday told the Bombay High Court that the principle of “honesty and accountability” will be violated if former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh’s plea to quash a corruption FIR lodged against him by the agency is allowed and stalling of the investigation would “shake public confidence”.

The HC said that all officers involved in the case, including those who reinstated dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze – arrested in the Ambani terror scare case – “cannot escape responsibility”, and that the aim of the probe should be to instill “public confidence”.

To this, the CBI said that it would investigate all persons accused of “criminal conspiracy” in a letter written by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, levelling corruption charges against Deshmukh.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar on Monday concluded hearing Deshmukh’s writ petition challenging the CBI FIR filed in April on charges of bribery, corruption and criminal conspiracy.

The court asked the CBI if police officers, who reinstated Waze, could claim impunity stating that they were unaware of his past records and antecedents.

“In any department, an individual cannot do it (corruption or malpractices) alone. As long as everyone is happy, none complains. But the moment there is a transfer, someone speaks. In this case, who is the main collector? It is Waze as per allegations. How was he inducted? Why did the highest officer not investigate when he was informed (about malpractices).

He could himself have registered the FIR…” Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the CBI, opposed Deshmukh’s claims that the central agency had failed to take consent of the Maharashtra government before registering the FIR. Lekhi added that as per law the same was not required, as the probe was initiated by HC and Deshmukh and others were then not discharging official duty.

“Corruption is the root cause because of which system is paralysed. Nobody should be left out and everyone should be investigated,” Justice Shinde said.

Following this, Lekhi said that this is a case of alleged corruption and it needs to be “detected and eradicated at the earliest”.

Seeking dismissal of Deshmukh’s plea, he added that CBI had found “mandatory facts” that are needed to be probed and allowing the plea will “stifle” the same.

Senior counsel Amit Desai and advocate Kamlesh Ghumre, representing Deshmukh, said that by “intentionally leaving out” names of police officers and only naming Deshmukh in the FIR was an “attempt to besmirch his reputation” and shield officers involved.

The HC went on to ask the CBI to submit progress a report on its investigation in a sealed cover.


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