The Supreme Court will Wednesday hear the plea by Mumbai's former Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh seeking direction for immediate "impartial and fair" CBI probe into alleged corrupt malpractices of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. As per Wednesday’s cause list uploaded on the apex court website, the petition would come up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and RS Reddy. Singh, a 1988 batch IPS officer, has also sought quashing of the order transferring him from the post of Mumbai CP alleging it to be “arbitrary” and “illegal”.
As an interim relief, he has sought a stay of the operation of his transfer order and direction to state government, the Centre and CBI to immediately take in its custody the CCTV footage from the residence of Deshmukh.
“The petitioner has invoked writ jurisdiction of this court to seek unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair investigation in the corrupt malpractices of Anil Deshmukh, the Home Minister of Government of Maharashtra before the evidence are destroyed,” he has said in his plea.
“Deshmukh had been holding meetings in February 2021 at his residence with police officers including Sachin Vaze of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai and Sanjay Patil, ACP Social Service Branch, Mumbai, bypassing their seniors and had instructed them that he had a target to accumulate Rs 100 crore every month and had directed to collect money from various establishments and other sources,” Singh has alleged.
He has claimed it is reliably learnt that on or about August 24-25, 2020, one Rashmi Shukla, Commissioner Intelligence, State Intelligence Department, had brought to the notice of the Director-General of Police, who in turn brought it to the knowledge of the state's Additional Chief Secretary Home Department, about corrupt malpractices in postings/transfers by Deshmukh based on a telephonic interception.
“She was shunted out rather than taking any firm action against said Anil Deshmukh”, he has said.
Deshmukh had been interfering in various investigations and was instructing the police officers to conduct the same in a particular manner as desired by him, Singh has alleged.
“Such act of Deshmukh in abuse of the official position of the Home Minister, whether in calling and directly instructing the police officers of lower rank such as Vaze or Patil for his malicious intent of extorting money from establishments across Mumbai and from other sources or whether in interfering in the investigations & directing the same to be conducted in a particular manner, or whether indulging in corrupt malpractices in posting /transfers of officers, cannot be countenanced or justified in any democratic State”, he has claimed.
Singh has said that fair CBI investigation is thus warranted in each of such acts of Deshmukh in the alleged abuse of the official position of the Home Minister and added that he has brought the corrupt practices in the knowledge of the senior leaders and the Chief Minister of the state immediately.
He said that thereafter, on March 17, by a notification of the Maharashtra government he was transferred from the post of the Police Commissioner of Mumbai to the Home Guard department in an “arbitrary and illegal manner without the completion of the minimum fixed tenure of two years”.
Referring to the February 25 incident outside Antilia, the residence of businessman Mukesh Ambani, where a car with explosives was found leading to a bomb scare, Singh said that he believes that the reason for the transfer noted by the state government in its file is to ensure a free and fair investigation in the case.
He said that the said case is being now investigated by the NIA, and Sachin Vaze, an officer of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai has been arrested for custodial interrogation by NIA.
“All necessary assistance had been rendered by petitioner’s office and his officers for the conduct of a free and fair investigation by the ATS and the NIA into the Antilia incident. It is not even case of NIA that the petitioner had in any manner obstructed in a free and fair investigation by NIA”, he said.
He further said that having made such startling revelations, he apprehends further malicious and coercive actions at the instance of “disgruntled Home Minister in abuse of his powers”.
He said that Deshmukh while mechanically denying the contents of the letter dated March 20, submitted to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has issued a press release threatening to initiate defamation proceedings against him.
He has also sought directions to safeguard him from any further coercive steps apprehended in retaliation for laying bare the alleged corrupt malpractices of Deshmukh.
(With PTI inputs)