CBI SUB-INSPECTOR Abhishek Tiwari allegedly accepted an iPhone 12 Pro as “illegal gratification” from the lawyer of Anil Deshmukh in June to pass on information and documents related to a Preliminary Enquiry and corruption case against the former Maharashtra Home Minister, the agency has stated in its FIR against the staffer.
Tiwari was arrested by the CBI Wednesday for allegedly passing on information that, it said, compromised its probe into allegations that Deshmukh coerced policemen to accept bribes on his behalf and exerted undue influence in transfers and postings of officers.
On Thursday, the agency arrested Deshmukh’s lawyer, Anand Daga, in the case. The investigation against Deshmukh is based on allegations levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in the Bombay High Court.
The action against Tiwari and Daga comes after the leak last weekend of the purported Preliminary Enquiry (PE) report of the CBI, which found that no cognizable offence was made out against Deshmukh on the allegations levelled by Singh.
According to CBI’s FIR dated August 31, Tiwari had visited Pune in connection with the case. “It has been learnt that Advocate Anand Daga met Sh Abhishek Tiwari and handed over an iPhone 12 Pro as illegal gratification to him in lieu of passing details regarding the said enquiry and the investigation, thereby causing improper performance of public duty. It has also been reliably learnt that he had been obtaining illegal gratification from Sh Daga at regular intervals,” CBI said in the FIR.
The agency said that Tiwari allegedly shared copies of various documents, such as “memorandum of proceedings, sealing-unsealing memorandum, statements, seizure memos etc,” with Daga through WhatsApp.
The FIR states that Tiwari came in contact with Daga while he was assisting Investigating Officer R S Gunjiyal in conducting the Preliminary Enquiry against Deshmukh in April and allegedly remained in touch with him — and thereby “committed criminal breach of trust”.
According to the agency, there is reason to believe Tiwari “disclosed case sensitive and confidential documents to unauthorized persons for the purpose of subverting the investigation of the case …in lieu of undue advantage and illegal gratification to himself”.
The FIR states that Tiwari was associated with both the PE and the FIR registered against Deshmukh on April 21, and assisted Gunjiyal in preparing the report that purportedly gave a clean chit to the former minister.
“Consequent upon the enquiry, the Enquiry Officer (Gunjiyal) submitted his report dated 16.04.21. Abhishek Tiwari assisted the EO in preparation of the said report and had been in possession of case sensitive documents,” the CBI said. It said that a regular case was filed “pursuant to the comments and opinion of senior officers including legal officers and after the approval of the competent authority”.
CBI sources said the agency was also probing the role of Gunjiyal, if any, although there is no such reference in the FIR. “Our information is that Tiwari has tried to influence the probe from the PE stage itself. He was involved in drafting the PE report which is being talked about now. Role of other officers is being examined,” a CBI officer said.
Sources said the CBI began an enquiry into the matter only after its PE report exonerating Deshmukh got leaked on social media last month. “Until then the report filed by Gunjiyal was taken at face value and considered as an independent opinion of the investigating officer. It was overruled by seniors who believed there was enough evidence to register a prima facie case. After it was leaked, an enquiry was conducted and it was revealed that the case had been compromised,” the officer said.
Following the PE by Gunjyal, the regular case against Deshmukh is being investigated by CBI DySP Mukesh Kumar.