By LE Desk

Mumbai, April 5: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out ‘preliminary inquiry’ into corruption allegations of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. 

Terming the case as ‘extraordinary and unprecedented’, the high court asked the CBI to complete the probe within 15 days, after which the CBI director is at liberty to take further course of action, The Indian Express reported.

Three days after he was removed as Mumbai Police Commissioner and posted to the Home Guards, Singh wrote an eight-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleging that Deshmukh asked how 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.

The HC passed a ruling on criminal PIL by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, seeking a CBI probe against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh for alleged malpractices along with other two PILs seeking an independent probe.

The court also passed the order on criminal writ plea by city-based lawyer Jaishri Patil, who, along with an independent probe into allegations, had sought directions to Police to take cognisance of complaint filed by her at Malabar Hill Police station, complaining of corruption by Deshmukh, Singh, and others. Patil had sought registration of FIR in the case.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni said, “We agree with Jaishri Patil that directions are required to order an unbiased probe to unearth the truth. There can be no independent probe if it is given to Police as Deshmukh is HM. The interest of justice will be done if the Director of CBI is allowed to conduct a preliminary inquiry. Such preliminary inquiry is ordered in accordance with law and be concluded within 15 days.”

Referring to Patil’s complaint pending before Malabar Hill Police station and bar on HC while ordering CBI ‘investigation’ without FIR, but CBI need not register FIR immediately or take up Patil’s complaint,” HC said. The court also granted ‘liberty to Singh to make a grievance, if any, before an appropriate forum.’

Patil’s plea 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.

Deshmukh has denied the allegations against him.

In the previous hearing, the High Court had asked Singh repeatedly why no FIR was filed on his allegations against the Maharashtra Home Minister. It asked Singh why he had not filed a complaint on his allegations and if he did not have faith in his own police force. Chief Justice CJ Datta asked Singh, “Where is FIR? You have to approach the police/agency with FIR. Our prima facie observation [with respect to prayer seeking CBI probe] is that there cannot be investigation without FIR,” the bench said, questioning the maintainability of the PIL.

In his plea, Singh further said in August 2020, Rashmi Shukla, then Commissioner Intelligence, state intelligence department, had brought to the notice of the DGP about corruption in postings and transfers in Maharashtra. The DGP in turn had brought it to the knowledge of the Additional Chief Secretary (Home).

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