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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Preliminary probes by govt to scuttle CBI investigation into allegations against Deshmukh: Param Bir to HC

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Singh, said that both the probes were initiated hastily and without application of mind.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
July 29, 2021 1:35:46 am
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. (File)

Former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh, while seeking quashing of two preliminary inquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra government, told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that the probes were initiated to scuttle the CBI investigation ordered by the HC on April 5 following his allegations of corruption against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh.

However, questioning the maintainability of the petition, the Maharashtra government said that Singh’s contentions pertaining to preliminary inquiries come under the purview of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, which are dealt by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar was hearing Singh’s plea challenging two preliminary inquiries initiated against him in connection to the Ambani terror scare case and the allegations made by Inspector Anup Dange, who was suspended last year and has been recently reinstated by the Mumbai Police.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Singh, said that both the probes were initiated hastily and without application of mind. “It is obvious from the circumstances that it was issued out of confusion and vendetta. Singh complained against Anil Deshmukh and instead of inquiring into that, the state has punished the whistleblower… They are trying to shoot the messenger,” Jethmalani argued.

He added that it was not “mere administrative inquiry” but also dealt with the criminal aspect of the case and the same was arbitrary and against the law.

Senior counsel Darius Khambata, representing Maharashtra, said that the petition pertained to “service matters” and should be raised before CAT. Opposing Singh’s contention that the government action was a form of vendetta, Khambata said that the complaint was lodged by Dange in February, long before Singh’s March 20 letter to the government accusing Deshmukh of corruption.

Jethmalani argued that the government, with the help of DGP Sanjay Pandey, was trying to convince Singh to withdraw his March 20 letter. “When persuasion (by Pandey) failed, the false cases followed,” he said. Khambata told the court as the DGP has recused from the probes and other officers would conduct the investigations now, Singh’s plea should be rendered infructuous and non-maintainable.

Senior counsel Navroz Seervai, representing the DGP, said that the plea was not maintainable and allegations against his client were false. Additional Public Prosecutor J P Yagnik, appearing for the state, submitted the progress report of the two inquiries in a sealed cover to the HC. The court went on to reserve its order on the issue of maintainability of Singh’s plea.

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