Former Maharashtra Home Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, who quit on Monday (April 5), has moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court ordering a CBI probe into corruption charges leveled against him by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in the wake of Mukesh Ambani residence security lapse episode.
A CBI team is supposed to reach Mumbai on Tuesday (April 6) to initiate a preliminary inquiry. Media reports said after quitting in the afternoon, Deshmukh visited Delhi and met senior lawyers in the national capital. “I don’t have the moral right to continue in office after the court order. I have decided to quit. Kindly relieve me from my post,” Deshmukh’s resignation letter said.
The CBI generally waits for a formal order and a legal opinion before proceeding in such cases. But given the short period of 15 days granted by the high court to conduct a preliminary inquiry, the agency has taken swift action, officials said.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni had on April 5 called the case “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” case that warranted an independent inquiry.
In the 52-page judgment, the bench said Singh’s charges against Deshmukh had put at stake the citizens’ faith in the state police. Such allegations, made by a serving police officer, against the state home minister could not be left unattended, and were required to be probed if prima facie, they made a case of a cognizable offence, the HC said.
The HC had pronounced its verdict on three PILs and a criminal writ petition filed last month, seeking a CBI probe into the matter. One of the PILs was filed by Singh, and the other two were filed by lawyer Ghanshyam Upadhyay and a local teacher Mohan Bhide.
The criminal writ petition was filed by city-based lawyer Jayshree Patil. Singh, in his plea filed on March 25, sought a CBI probe involving Deshmukh who, he claimed, had asked police officers, including suspended cop Sachin Waze, to extort Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants. Deshmukh and his party NCP has denied any wrongdoing.
Waze is facing National Investigation Agency’s probe in the case involving seizure of explosives from an SUV near Mukesh Ambani’s residence.