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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

‘Cheap popularity’: Bombay HC pulls up lawyer for seeking probe against Anil Deshmukh, Param Bir Singh

The court also asked the AG to club all the petitions together in the case to ensure ‘consistent orders’ in all the pleas.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: March 30, 2021 5:49:26 pm
Anil DeshmukhMaharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh

The Bombay High Court Tuesday rapped a lawyer for filing a “copy-paste” petition against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, saying it was “prima facie filed for cheap popularity”.

Mumbai-based lawyer Jaishri Patil had filed a plea seeking a CBI probe in the corruption allegations against Deshmukh. The plea also sought directions to secure CCTV footage of places where alleged criminal conspiracy took place in the Ambani house bomb scare case as per Param Bir Singh’s letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

In the letter, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh asked now suspended and arrested assistant police inspector Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore every month, including Rs 40-50 crore from 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai. Deshmukh has denied the allegations against him.

Questioning Patil over her ‘locus standi’ on the matter, a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale said, “Entire petition is cut-copy-paste. What is your locus standi? Can you set criminal law in motion? Prima facie, we are of the opinion that such petitions are filed for cheap popularity. It is unacceptable. Pleadings should have been made properly. How such an important petition is like this?”

The court also asked Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the state government, as to what action was taken on the complaint filed by Patil, to which the state government responded that the same was pending before the police.

Kumbhakoni also opposed Patil’s plea, saying, “There is shoddy work done by the petitioner. Everything in the petition is copy-pasted. There is no effort to find the truth and veracity in the matter.”

He also informed the court that there were other petitions on similar issue, including the one filed by Param Bir Singh seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh which will be taken up by a bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta on Wednesday.

On this, the court asked the AG to see whether all the petitions could be clubbed together to ensure ‘consistent orders’ in all the pleas.

“On instructions, the state will move for clubbing petitions for common hearing,” the bench noted in the order and posted further hearing on Patil’s plea to April 1 awating decision on clubbing petitions.

Param Bir Singh has sought direction to state government to ensure transfer/posting of police officials are neither done on pecuniary benefits to any politician nor in contravention of SC orders based on principle of insulating police machinery from political/executive interference.

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