Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of the Nationalist Congress Party on Monday resigned from his post hours after the Bombay High Court ordered a preliminary CBI probe in to the corruption allegations made against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni on Monday directed the CBI to conduct preliminary inquiry in to corruption allegations against Deshmukh. The bench ordered the CBI director to conclude the inquiry within 15 days and take further action in accordance with law.
The court said, “The resolution passed by the government for high-level committee leads us to believe that there is no interference required.” The order of CBI inquiry was specifically passed on the petition of Advocate Jaishri Patil.
Disposing of the plea, the Bench said, “The director of CBI is allowed to conduct preliminary inquiry in accordance with law and conclude it within 15 days. Once preliminary inquiry is complete, CBI director can be at discretion to take further course of action.” The bench held that an un-biased probe is required to unearth the truth.
“There is certainly a legitimate public expectation of a free, fair, honest and impartial inquiry and investigation into such allegations which have surfaced in the public domain. The necessity to have a probe into such allegations by an independent agency, would also certainly be a requirement of the rule of law. To instill public confidence and safeguard the Fundamental Rights of the citizens, it is necessary that an inquiry and investigation is conducted by an independent agency and for such reasons, we consider it to be in the paramount public interest that an independent probe in the present circumstances would meet the ends of justice,”
-the Court said.
On March 20, Singh had accused Deshmukh of extorting money from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours in Mumbai.
In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the former police Commissioner wrote that suspended crime branch officer Sachin Vaze told him that the minister had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels. Singh had also accused the home minister of frequently interfering with police investigations in various cases.
On March 15, Vaze was sent to NIA custody for his alleged role in placing an explosives-laden vehicle outside the residence of Mukesh Ambani last month. Two days later, Singh, who was investigating the matter, was transferred from his position to the low-key Home Guard department by the state government.
Deshmukh had refuted Singh’s allegations, and claimed that the police officer was trying to cover up after mishandling the Ambani case.
The allegations against Deshmukh had clouded the Shiv Sena-NCP relations so much so that NCP boss Sharad Pawar had to get onto damage control mode.Order-dated-5.4.2021