Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Anil Deshmukh probe: SC dismisses Maharashtra plea to remove some paragraphs in CBI FIR

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea filed by the State of Maharashtra seeking removal of certain paragraphs from the FIR registered by CBI against former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on charges of bribery, corruption and criminal conspiracy.  

A Supreme Court bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah heard the counsel for the State of Maharashtra, Rahul Chitnis, who argued that the CBI after the directions of Bombay High Court initiated the preliminary inquiry and thereafter registered an FIR, but there are certain paragraphs that are in nexus of judgment of Bombay High Court, wherein the allegations are not just restricted to extorting money from the restaurants and clubs but alleged transfer of police officers from their official postings by Deshmukh.

Chitnis, on the first instance, sought an adjournment since the State was inclined to appoint a Senior Advocate who at the last moment returned the brief by saying that he has conflict of interest in this matter, regardless the bench heard the matter then and there only.

Thereafter, Chitnis argued that there were no such allegations mentioned in the two complaint letter, one by Advocate Dr. Jayshree Patil and the other one by Param Bir Singh regarding the alleged transfer of police officers and Deshmukh calling them home regarding this and the same was only mentioned in the FIR after the preliminary inquiry which maligns the image of the former Home Minister. He further argued that as per Section 6 of DSPE Act, general or specific consent is granted by the State Government where the case is registered; or when the case is entrusted by the Constitutional courts.

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To which Justice Chandrachud stated, “If you talk about state’s consent, then the whole purpose of direction by constitutional court to initiate inquiry by the CBI will be defeated”, to which Justice Shah added that “which government would give consent against their own home minister”.

The bench also observed that

“normally when FIR is filed, police has jurisdiction u/s 167 CrPC for all the facts related. Police are bound to take into consideration all facts. How can we draw a line that CBI will only investigate abuse of law with regards to particular facts (only stated in complaint letters by Patil and Singh that alleges Deshmukh extorting Rs 100 crores of money every month from bars and restaurants while conspiring with police officers)? The manner in which the postings were made is the subject matter for investigation.”

Justice Shah opined that the state should be ready for purity in administration of service, why is the state opposing; it clearly shows that the state is trying to protect him.

Also Read: Supreme Court declines to quash criminal proceedings against woman, her son accused in Rs 66-crore scam duping 45,000 investors

The bench also observed that Bombay High Court itself directed the preliminary inquiry, so there is no reason to intervene. Justice Chandrachud stated that once the court had made reference to the CBI and if that court stops it, how it will solve the purpose of the said inquiry before dismissing the petition.

State of Maharashtra was denying the request by the CBI to provide relevant documents for the probe. The paragraphs in the FIR registered by CBI states that the central agency, in its Preliminary Enquiry, had found that Anil Deshmukh was aware of the reinstatement of now suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze into the police after 15 years and sensitive and sensational cases being given to Sachin Waze for investigation. The other paragraph stated that Deshmukh and others exercised “undue influence” over the transfer and postings of several police officers as alleged by Param Bir Singh (former Police Commissioner of Mumbai, DG of Anti-Corruption Bureau and Police Commissioner of Thane) in his letter addressed to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

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