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State not cooperating, scared of probe into Waze reinstatement and Rashmi Shukla letter: CBI to Bombay HC

The CBI said it had included these two issues as per the directions and mandate of an April 5 order of the High Court that initiated preliminary inquiry against Deshmukh and others.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
June 21, 2021 10:41:09 pm
While one of the paragraphs pertained to allegations that Deshmukh was aware of Waze's reinstatement, the other stated that Deshmukh and others exercised "undue influence" over the transfer and postings of officers.

THE CBI on Monday told the Bombay High Court that the Maharashtra government, by not cooperating and refusing access to certain documents sought by the agency with regard to an FIR filed against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, was in contempt of court directives and “scared” of the investigation into two issues “intrinsically linked” to allegations of corruption against Deshmukh.

The two issues included by the agency in its April 21 FIR against Deshmukh pertains to the investigation into the reinstatement of Sachin Waze, now suspended from the police force and under arrest, and former state intelligence commissioner Rashmi Shukla’s letter/report.

The CBI said it had included these two issues as per the directions and mandate of an April 5 order of the High Court that initiated preliminary inquiry against Deshmukh and others. The CBI concluded its submissions on the state government’s plea seeking the removal of two paragraphs from the FIR.

After the bench asked CBI if the three-member committee, including former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, which reinstated Waze was also being investigated, the agency’s counsel said its investigation is not restricted to Deshmukh or Waze but is “issue centric” and everyone, including Singh, is open to investigation. The CBI said whoever was part of the committee, including Singh, would be subject to probe, as at times, “the complainant can also turn out to be an accused person”.

The agency said it will also investigate whether there was any large-scale scam of transfer and postings, and complained that it has not received required documents from the state government.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamdar was hearing the state government’s petition seeking directions that the two “unnumbered paragraphs” be set aside from the April 21 FIR registered against Deshmukh and others.

While one of the paragraphs pertained to allegations that Deshmukh was aware of Waze’s reinstatement, the other stated that Deshmukh and others exercised “undue influence” over the transfer and postings of officers. While the state is investigating Singh in connection to Waze’s reinstatement, Shukla is being investigated for an alleged phone tapping case.

The state government, on June 18, through senior counsel Rafique Dada told the HC that the two paragraphs in the FIR were inserted to interfere in probes initiated by the state against Singh and Shukla.

On Monday, responding to the state’s arguments, solicitor general Tushar Mehta and additional solicitor general Anil Singh for CBI submitted that any sort of hindrance where the agency cannot carry out fair and partial investigation would defeat the very purpose of the April 5 order of the HC, and that there was no restriction to CBI to probe issues related to the challenged portion of the FIR.

The CBI counsel argued, “It is in everyone’s interest if the investigation into serious corruption cases is carried out thoroughly. To clean up corruption in administration, we need to investigate why Waze, having a shady past, was reinstated after 15 years with special posting and as to why he was directly in contact and had access to Deshmukh as alleged by Singh. It is not a normal phenomenon.”

The CBI submitted, “The state is not cooperating with the probe and, instead, through this petition, is trying to dilute the mandate issued in the April 5 order.”

The CBI continued its earlier statement and said till the next hearing on June 23, it will not act on letters it sent to the state seeking documents regarding Shukla and records of police establishment board meeting about transfers and postings.

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