Bombay High Court on Monday asked the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days into corruption allegations made by Param Bir Singh against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The Bench added the CBI can decide on the future course of action after this preliminary inquiry is completed. "Director of CBI is allowed to conduct a preliminary inquiry. Such preliminary inquiry be ordered in accordance with law and be concluded within 15 days Once the preliminary inquiry is complete, director CBI (would) be at discretion to (decide on the) further course of action", the Court said today.
The Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni had reserved its order in the plea on Wednesday after hearing the parties at length. Dictating its verdict in the matter this morning, the Court said, "We do not want to get involved in the other aspects of maintainability...The GR passed by the government for high-level committee leads us to believe that there is no interference required..."
The Court, however, agreed that the allegations were serious and warranted an independent probe.
"We agree with Nankani and Jha that it is an unprecedented case before the court... Deshmukh is Home Minister who leads the police... There has to be an independent enquiry... But CBI need not register FIR immediately or take up Patil's complaint", the Court said.
The bench was presiding over three public interest litigations, including one filed by Singh himself, another by city-based lawyer Jayshree Patil, and the third by teacher Mohan Bhide, seeking various reliefs.
The bench disposed of all the three pleas.
On March 25, Singh filed criminal public interest litigation seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh, who he claimed asked police officers, including suspended cop Sachin Vaze, to collect Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants.
The minister has denied any wrongdoing.
With PTI inputs