The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea filed by the Maharashtra government challenging the Central Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry into the posting and transfer of police officers by former minister Anil Deshmukh, Bar and Bench reported.
In March, Deshmukh was accused of extorting money from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours in Mumbai by the city’s former police chief Param Bir Singh. The former Maharashtra home minister had allegedly asked suspended police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels. The CBI is conducting an inquiry against Deshmukh.
In one paragraph of its first information report, the CBI alleged that Deshmukh had exercised “undue influence” over the transfer and postings of police officers. The Maharashtra government had urged the Bombay High Court to set aside this paragraph but the court rejected its petition on July 22. The court said that the CBI can inquire into this aspect of the case.
While hearing the Maharashtra government’s appeal on Wednesday, a Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said they could not dilute the order of a court, PTI reported.
“CBI has to investigate all aspects of the allegations [against Deshmukh] and we cannot limit them,” the bench said. “This will be like denuding the powers of a constitutional court.”
Maharashtra government’s lawyer Rahul Chitnis said the state had withdrawn consent for a CBI investigation in the case, according to PTI.
The Supreme Court rebuked him, saying that the government seemed to be protecting Deshmukh, NDTV reported.
“When [your] own home minister is involved... which government is going to give consent [for investigation]?” the court asked. “That is why the High Court ordered the probe... you cannot be permitted to judge your own cause. Why should the state oppose? State should be ready for any inquiry for purity in administration.”
The judges added that the state government must allow a fair investigation to take place. “What is the difficulty?” Chandrachud asked, according to NDTV. “The probe is not against the state... it is against ex-home minister.”