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Friday, June 25, 2021

Won’t arrest Param Bir Singh in atrocities case till June 9, Maharashtra govt tells Bombay High Court

The state government, however, added that the assurance rests on the condition that the former Mumbai Police Commissioner co-operates with the probe.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
May 24, 2021 1:21:16 pm
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. (File Photo)

The Maharashtra government on Monday assured the Bombay High Court that it will not arrest former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh till June 9 in the atrocities case lodged against him by Inspector Bhimrao Ghadge.

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N R Borkar was hearing Singh’s petition seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him by Thane Police or transferring the case to the CBI for investigation.

The state government, however, added that the assurance rests on the condition that Singh co-operates with the probe and he should not pursue relief pertaining to the said FIR before the Supreme Court.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N R Borkar was hearing Singh’s petition seeking FIR registered against him and others by Thane Police to be quashed or to be handed over to the CBI for investigation.

A total of 27 sections, including those under the Prevention of Atrocities Act, were added in the FIR. Ghadge had alleged that Singh had pressured him to drop the names of some persons from an FIR and later registered FIRs against Ghadge when he did not accept the orders.

In his FIR, Ghadge had alleged that Singh took money for transfers of officers and also in lieu of not taking action against a person accused in a cheating case in 2015. Ghadge also stated that after he refused to comply with the “illegal orders”, Singh had conspired with other officers to register five FIRs against him, of which four were registered within a matter of 10 days in 2015.

Ghadge’s FIR against Singh was registered initially by the Akola police from where it was transferred to Thane police. However, the case is currently being probed by the CID.

On Friday, the High Court had extended relief to Singh till Monday, May 24.

The Court, on Monday, expressed its displeasure over a statement made by Singh in his petition in the Supreme Court that states that he was constrained to approach the apex court as the high court was not hearing his plea.

Senior counsel Darius Khambata for the state government said it has found evidence to prove that Singh had taken contradictory stands before SC and the High Court. Khambata pointed out that even though the HC had heard Singh’s petition on May 13, he had approached the SC on May 16 seeking similar relief and complained that the HC was not hearing his plea.

Khambata argued that by making such submissions, the petitioner was indulging in ‘abuse of process’ and ‘suppressing facts’.

He added that while on May 13, the state had given assurance to the vacation bench that no coercive steps would be taken against Singh till May 21, Singh approached SC before that and sought similar relief.

Advocate Satish B Talekar, who is appearing for Ghadge, argued that Singh was resorting to “forum shopping: and such approach has been deprecated by the Supreme Court in past cases and the high court, too, should take “serious” cognizance of the same.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, who is arguing the case on behalf of Singh, said that he was unaware of the petition in the Supreme Court and assured that the said submission will be deleted and that Singh would not seek relief pertaining to the said FIR from the top court before June 9.

The High Court said that it would give all parties an opportunity to be heard and as that would not be possible for a vacation bench, it suggested that the hearing be taken up after regular court proceedings commenced on June 7.

Following an agreement by all parties, the court scheduled the next hearing for June 9.

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