The Maharashtra government on Wednesday denied before the Bombay High Court the CBI's allegation that it was trying to obstruct the central agency's probe against Anil Deshmukh, a former state home minister.
Senior counsel Darius Khambata, the state's lawyer, said it had nothing to do with Deshmukh.
The state government has moved the court against the Central Bureau of Investigation's summons to chief secretary Sitaram Kunte and Director General of Police Sanjay Pandey as part of the probe against Deshmukh.
"I (Maharashtra government) am not concerned with him. Please investigate him. Go ahead and do whatever you want with him," the lawyer said. Khambata made the argument while objecting to the CBI's decision to submit some material related to the probe in a sealed cover.
The agency must submit everything in the open court, he told a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and S V Kotwal.
Khambata also pointed out that when the Maharashtra government wanted to submit some documents related to IPS officer Rashmi Shukla's case in a sealed cover, the high court asked it to make submissions in the open court. The CBI is investigating allegations of corruption against Deshmukh after former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh accused him of asking police officials to collect money from bars and restaurants.
In September, the CBI issued summons to chief secretary Kunte and DGP Pandey for questioning in connection with the probe. The Maharashtra government then moved the HC, seeking that the summons be quashed as Kunte and Pandey had nothing to do with this probe. The summons was a harassment tactic, it alleged.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, who appeared for the CBI, said the CBI wanted to submit in a sealed envelop some material to show how the process of transfers and postings of police officers was "interfered with and controlled by Deshmukh." "We want to show to the court how all the constraints and restraints of law were abandoned altogether," Lekhi said. "These documents that the CBI wishes to submit are necessary to show the direction of the investigation, the issuance of summons," he said.
Khambata said this had no bearing on the state government's petition. "The state seeks continuation of the investigation but under the supervision of this court," he said. The Union government's lawyer accused him of "double speak".
"This is double speak. An Orwellian habit. You say you want the investigation to go on and yet you fault the investigation," Lekhi said. "The state claims to be not concerned with Deshmukh, yet it alleges malafide and continues to be concerned with the investigation," he added. The arguments will continue on Thursday.
-With PTI Inputs