The Maharashtra government on Monday said it would not arrest former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in a case registered against him under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act till June 9 provided he cooperates with the investigation into the case.
Senior counsel Darius Khambata, appearing for the state government, made the statement before a vacation bench of Justices S S Shinde and N R Borkar, which was hearing a petition filed by Singh, seeking to quash the FIR registered against him on a complaint of police inspector Bhimrao Ghadge.
Khambata, however, told the court that Singh should not seek any relief pertaining to this case in the petition filed by him in the Supreme Court.
Singh last week filed a petition in the apex court, alleging that he is being hounded and continuously harassed with multiple cases instituted against him by the Maharashtra government as vendetta, after he complained to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.
He urged the SC to shift all the enquiries set up against him to another state and also sought for the FIRs registered against him to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Khambata on Monday told the HC that Singh “cannot ride two horses” at a time and seek reliefs from both the high court and the Supreme Court in the same case.
The bench accepted the state government's statement that it would not arrest Singh till June 9, and directed him to not seek reliefs pertaining to this particular case before the SC. Singh's counsel Mahesh Jethmalani agreed to the directive. The court then posted the petition for further hearing on June 9.
Ghadge's advocate Satish Talekar opposed the interim protection from arrest granted to Singh. The court, however, noted that the case dates back to 2016.
“The FIR has been filed after five years. You (complainant) waited for so long…nothing will happen if you wait for two more weeks. He (Singh) has not been arrested for all these years. What purpose will it serve if he is arrested now,” the court said.
The bench also noted that Singh is still in service and is an officer of the government's police force. The HC also expressed its displeasure with a statement of Singh in the petition filed by him in the SC that says he was constrained to approach the apex court as the high court was not hearing the matter.
Khambata pointed out this statement to the bench on Monday and said on May 13, the high court had heard the matter and adjourned the hearing after the government made a statement that no coercive action would be taken. “We feel sad. How can you (Singh) say that matters are not heard?” Justice Shinde said. Jethmalani apologized and said the statement was incorrect.
“We will withdraw the statement from the petition filed in the Supreme Court,” he said. The FIR against Singh is based on a complaint by police inspector Ghadge, now posted at Akola in Maharashtra.
Ghadge made a series of allegations of corruption against Singh and other officers when Singh was posted in Thane. The FIR, which is now transferred from Akola to Thane, claimed Singh pressured Ghadge to drop the names of some persons from a case and when he refused, the IPS officer framed him up in false cases.
The case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the state CID is conducting a probe into it.
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