The Supreme Court will be hearing former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s plea seeking a CBI probe into alleged “corrupt malpractices” of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh today.
His petition has been listed before a bench of Justices S K Kaul and R Subhash Reddy.
In his plea, Singh, who was shifted to Maharashtra Home Guards last week, has repeated the allegations that he had levelled against Deshmukh in an eight-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thakeray — that the minister had asked the now-suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze, who was later arrested by the NIA in the Antilia bomb scare case, to collect Rs 100 crore every month, including Rs 40-50 crore from around 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
After writing an explosive letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray bringing corruption charges Deshmukh, Param Bir Singh, a 1988 batch IPS officer, has also sought quashing of the order transferring him from the post of Mumbai CP alleging it to be arbitrary and illegal.
As an interim relief, he has sought a stay of the operation of his transfer order and direction to state government, the Centre and CBI to immediately take in its custody the CCTV footage from the residence of Deshmukh.
In the plea, the petitioner has invoked writ jurisdiction of this court to seek unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair investigation in the corrupt malpractices of Anil Deshmukh before the evidence is destroyed.
Deshmukh had been holding meetings in February 2021 at his residence with police officers including Sachin Vaze of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai and Sanjay Patil, ACP Social Service Branch, Mumbai, bypassing their seniors and had instructed them that he had a target to accumulate Rs 100 crore every month and had directed to collect money from various establishments and other sources, Singh has alleged.
He has also claimed it is reliably learnt that on or about August 24-25, 2020, one Rashmi Shukla, Commissioner Intelligence, State Intelligence Department, had brought to the notice of the Director-General of Police, who in turn brought it to the knowledge of the state’s Additional Chief Secretary Home Department, about corrupt malpractices in postings/transfers by Deshmukh based on a telephonic interception.
Singh has also alleged that Deshmukh had been interfering in various investigations and was instructing the police officers to conduct the same in a particular manner as desired by him.
He claimed that such act of Deshmukh in abuse of the official position of the Home Minister, whether in calling and directly instructing the police officers of lower rank such as Vaze or Patil for his malicious intent of extorting money from establishments across
Mumbai and from other sources or whether in interfering in the investigations & directing the same to be conducted in a particular manner, or whether indulging in corrupt malpractices in posting /transfers of officers, cannot be countenanced or justified in any democratic State.
In the plea, Singh has said that fair CBI investigation is thus warranted in each of such acts of Deshmukh in the alleged abuse of the official position of the Home Minister and added that he has brought the corrupt practices in the knowledge of the senior leaders and the Chief Minister of the state immediately.
He said that thereafter, on March 17, by a notification of the Maharashtra government he was transferred from the post of the Police Commissioner of Mumbai to the Home Guard department in an arbitrary and illegal manner without the completion of the minimum fixed tenure of two years.
Referring to the February 25 incident outside Antilia, the residence of businessman Mukesh Ambani, where a car with explosives was found leading to a bomb scare, Singh said that he believes that the reason for the transfer noted by the state government in its file is to ensure a free and fair investigation in the case.
He said that the said case is being now investigated by the NIA, and Sachin Vaze, an officer of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai has been arrested for custodial interrogation by NIA.
All necessary assistance had been rendered by the petitioner’s office and his officers for the conduct of a free and fair investigation by the ATS and the NIA into the Antilia incident. It is not even the case of NIA that the petitioner had in any manner obstructed in a free and fair investigation by NIA, he said.
In the meantime, Deshmukh on Tuesday said he was “extremely disturbed” by the campaign of slander against him and wanted to set the record straight about his hospitalization last month.
The minister, who has denied the allegations, met chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday evening. “I am extremely disturbed by the slander in various forms of media aimed at maligning my and my department’s image,” Deshmukh said in a video message.
“I was hospitalized after contracting the COVID-19 and got admitted to a hospital on February 5. I was there till February 15. I was discharged and flew back to Mumbai and remained in-home quarantine,” he said.
With PTI inputs