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Explained: Why Supreme Court has told Maharashtra govt to halt probe against Param Bir Singh

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the state to put a "hands on hold" in the probes against former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. What are the cases against him, and what explains the top court's direction?

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. (File)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, hearing a plea filed by suspended IPS officer Param Bir Singh seeking transfer of cases registered against him in Maharashtra, asked the state to put a “hands on hold” in the probes against the former Mumbai police commissioner.

What are the cases registered against Param Bir Singh in Maharashtra?

A total of five cases related to extortion have been registered against Param Bir Singh in Maharashtra. These include one registered in April 2021 on the complaint of inspector Bhimrao Ghadge, who during his stint with Thane police reported to Singh, the then Thane Commissioner. Ghadge alleged that Singh had asked him to drop charges against a person and extort money.

In the last week of July 2021, two more FIRs were registered against Singh at the Marine Drive police station in Mumbai and Kopri police station in Thane on the complaint of developer Shyamsunder Agarwal and his nephew Sharad. Agarwal alleged that Singh and other police officers had threatened to falsely implicate him in a case on the pretext of which they harassed and extorted money from him.

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The fourth case was filed based on a complaint by businessman Ketan Tanna and 26 others claiming that Singh, along with other police officials and gangster Ravi Pujari, had threatened and extorted money from him.

The fifth case, registered on August 20, 2021, was based on a complaint of hotelier Bimal Agarwal, who accused Singh and other police officers, including suspended police officer Sachin Waze, of extortion.

 

Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is also conducting an enquiry against Singh.

What is the status of these FIRs?

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Of the five FIRs, three cases are being investigated by the state criminal investigation department (CID), while the other two are being probed by the Mumbai crime branch and the Thane police. So far chargesheets in two cases – one by the Mumbai crime branch and the other by the CID – have been filed. While the Mumbai crime branch chargesheet filed in December named Singh, the latest one filed by the CID earlier this month did not include Singh’s name.

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Why did the Supreme Court ask the Maharashtra government to desist from further probe against Singh?

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With the possibility of the CBI taking over these cases looming large, the Supreme Court had earlier told the Maharashtra government to not continue the investigation against Singh. The chargesheet filed by the crime branch against Singh was before this observation. However, after the Supreme Court observation, the CID too filed a chargesheet.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Singh’s lawyer informed the Supreme Court that despite a stay against investigation, the CID had filed a chargesheet in the case. The state, however, informed the apex court that while it had filed chargesheet in the case, it had not named Singh as an accused in it and was filed against other accused.

Following this, the apex court asked the state government to not go ahead with the investigation. Generally, when an agency takes over a probe, it relies on the investigation carried out by the other agencies previously. Thus, evidence in the chargesheets filed by Maharashtra police will have to be considered by the CBI if it takes over the probe.

First published on: 23-02-2022 at 01:32:38 pm
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