HC orders CBI inquiry into allegations against Maharashtra minister

Court says a preliminary inquiry is to be conducted with 15 days and an FIR lodged if offence is found

Param Bir Singh, who has accused Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of indulging in 'malpractices'.

The Bombay High Court on Monday (April 5) ordered a CBI probe within 15 days into allegations made by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

“A preliminary inquiry is to be conducted in accordance with law. The officers appointed for inquiry shall receive cooperation from all parties. Once preliminary inquiry is conducted, the CBI will decide on future course,” said the court.

The court said since Deshmukh is the Home Minister, no impartial probe could be done by the police, ANI reported.

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Singh, who has been posted as the director general of Maharashtra home guard after being removed as Mumbai’s commissioner, had filed a PIL in the HC seeking a CBI inquiry against Deshmukh for alleged malpractices. Besides his PIL, the HC also heard a petition by lawyer Jaishri Patil for an independent inquiry. She said she had filed a complaint with the Malabar Hill police, alleging corruption by Deshmukh and Singh. She wanted the court to direct the police to file an FIR on her complaint.

Speaking to the media, Patil said, “The court has asked the CBI director to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days and register an FIR if any cognizable offence is found.”

Also read: Maharashtra minister gives reasons for Param Bir Singh’s transfer

Singh’s PIL against the home minister called for the report of Commissioner of Intelligence Rashmi Shukla and all connected files to be placed before the high court. The PIL filed through advocate Akshay Bafana alleged that Deshmukh called now-suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze to his residence and told him that he had a target of ₹100 crore to collect per month.

The PIL also alleged that a few days later Deshmukh called ACP Sanjay Patil of the Social Services branch of the Mumbai Police and discussed hookah parlours in the city, and also instructed other officers to conduct investigations into various crimes “as per his whims”.

Also read: Param Bir Singh challenges transfer in SC, seeks CBI probe against minister

On March 24, the Supreme Court refused to entertain Singh’s petition. The apex court had asked him to approach the Bombay High Court. A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul wondered why Singh didn’t approach the high court and why the person against whom the petition has been filed (Deshmukh) was not made a party to the case.

“We have no doubt that the matter is quite serious and affects the administration at large. It also appears that a lot of material which has come in public domain is a consequence of the personas falling out.”

 

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