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Information sought by CBI to probe Deshmukh involves documents not connected to scope of inquiry: Govt to HC

Calling it an “interference”, he added that the CBI had also sought files pertaining to IPS officer Rashmi Shukla -- in connection with the alleged illegal phone tapping case -- which are under investigation by the state police.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
May 22, 2021 1:42:12 am
Anil Deshmukh, Anil Deshmukh booked, Anil Deshmukh bribery case, former Maharashtra home minister booked, Maharashtra news, Indian expressFormer Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

The state government told the Bombay High Court on Friday that the information sought by the CBI from it to investigate its case against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh involved documents and digital devices not connected to the scope of inquiry and which if provided, will affect the administration of the state.

Senior counsel Rafique Dada, appearing for the government, said that a clarification was sought by the state from the CBI on how the documents sought from the home ministry, the office of the home secretary and the Police Establishment Board (PEB), were relevant to its probe but a written response is yet to be received.

Calling it an “interference”, he added that the CBI had also sought files pertaining to IPS officer Rashmi Shukla — in connection with the alleged illegal phone tapping case — which are under investigation by the state police.

The division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice S P Tavade was hearing a petition filed by the state government seeking directions to set aside two paragraphs from the FIR registered by the CBI against Deshmukh and other unknown persons on April 21.

Maintaining that the CBI FIR was based on the preliminary enquiry ordered by the HC, Dada said that the agency did not have the authority to go beyond the scope of the inquiry. “What is troubling us… if you look at the FIR (filed by the CBI), what is being asked for by the CBI is precisely what was not allowed by the court in its order. We are not disputing the CBI’s investigation in accordance with the HC order… we are not interfering with CBI’s probe. But it does not have the authority to go beyond it. Access to documents pertaining to PEB, where opinion on police officers is given, will demoralise the police force,” Dada submitted.

He added in the Rashmi Shukla case, the cyber police station had filed an FIR pertaining to leak of confidential letters related to call interceptions and it was already being probed. “An FIR has been filed in the case. How can an agency as experienced as the CBI interfere with a pending investigation? It is being done on the basis of these two paragraphs. The CBI is using its case as a lever to jump into the state’s pending inquiry… This will only assist her (Shukla),” Dada said.

The CBI had earlier justified the two paragraphs claiming that there was no restriction on the type of probe it could carry out.

One of the paragraphs stated that “the central agency in its Preliminary Enquiry (PE) had found that former state home minister Anil Deshmukh was aware of the reinstatement of now suspended API Sachin Waze into the police after 15 years and sensitive and sensational cases being given to Waze for investigation”. Waze is being probed by the NIA for his alleged role in the Ambani house terror scare case and the subsequent murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran.

The second paragraph stated that Deshmukh and others exercised “undue influence” over the transfer and postings of police officers as alleged by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The court will hear the matter on Wednesday.

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