The Bombay High Court on Wednesday (March 31) asked former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh why an FIR was not registered against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who has been accused by Singh of corruption.
Singh, who is in the middle of a storm after he wrote an explosive letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has accused Deshmukh of forcing suspended police officer Sachin Waze to collect ₹100 crore every month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
The former Mumbai Police commissioner had moved the Supreme Court demanding CBI inquiry against Deshmukh, but was asked by the apex court to approach the Bombay High Court instead.
Chief Justice CJ Dutta took Singh to task during the hearing for not filing an FIR. “You are a police commissioner, why should the law be set aside for you? Are police officers, ministers and politicians all above the law? Don’t view yourself so high, the law is above you,” CJ Dutta said.
In his defence, Param Bir Singh said, “These are hard facts coming from the person who occupied the highest post in the police force in the city and from someone who has served for more than 30 years.”
The court responded saying: “There has to be an FIR to investigate. Who stops you from filing an FIR? Prima facie observation is there can be no investigation without an FIR. You are asking for directions for investigation to be handed over to the CBI. Where is the FIR and investigation so that it can be handed over to CBI?”
The High Court said it has no jurisdiction in the matter unless there is an FIR.
Param Bir Singh argued before the court that “even a simple letter to my lords” can become a PIL (Public Interest Litigation), the judge responded: “You are a police officer. If you find an offence has been committed you are duty bound to file an FIR. Why did you not do it? You are failing in your duty if you don’t file an FIR when you know an offence has been committed. Simply writing letters to the Chief Minister won’t do. We can pull you up for it. If any citizen finds an offence is being committed he is duty-bound to file an FIR.”
The court also asked Param Bir Singh “if there is an affidavit from the officers saying that the home minister has said this to you?” In response, Singh said he had discussed the matter with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. “I have mentioned the perpetuators of the crime. My pleas have not been paid heed to. I have no other place to go,” he said.
The court has not passed an order in the case yet.
Two days after he was removed unceremoniously as Mumbai police chief, Param Bir Singh wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, accusing state Home Minister and senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh of indulging in “malpractices” and pressurizing inspector Sachin Waze for collecting Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Singh further claimed that Deshmukh had invited Sachin Waze for a meeting at his residence in relation to the collection of funds for himself.
While the letter written by Singh to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray does not mention the Antilia security case, Singh wrote at the end that he had to pay the price for resisting Deshmukh’s “interference” in work of the Mumbai Police.
On February 25, a Scorpio SUV was found parked near Ambani’s residence ‘Antilia’ with gelatin sticks and a threat letter. Hiran was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5. His family alleged that Waze had a role in his death. Waze was arrested by the NIA on March 13.