The Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by the Maharashtra government challenging summons issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation to two senior officials, Bar and Bench reported.
The summons were issued to Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte and state Director General of Police Sanjay Pandey in connection with a case against former state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The High Court also rejected a petition to form a Special Investigation Team to investigate the case against Deshmukh. Currently, the CBI is investigating the case.
“To conclude, considering the totality of the circumstances...the petitioner is not entitled to any relief,” a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and SV Kotwal said. “No case is made out for withdrawing the investigation from the Respondent – CBI and entrust it to the Special Investigation Team as prayed for.”
The Maharashtra government had contended that the current CBI chief, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, would not be able to conduct an impartial investigation. It pointed out that he was the former state director general of police, and was a part of the Police Establishment Board, which oversees transfers and postings of police officers.
The court, however, said that the CBI’s investigation only pertains to Deshmukh’s alleged role in transfers and postings. It said that the Maharashtra government did not explain how a conflict of interest arises in the matter.
Earlier, Senior Advocate Darius Khambata, appearing for the Maharashtra government, had said that Sanjay Pandey has nothing to do with Deshmukh’s case and alleged that the agency had summoned him as a harassment tactic, PTI reported.
Khambata added that Jaiswal was the state police chief during Deshmukh’s tenure as home minister, and thus, was a potential subject of the CBI’s investigation.
On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the CBI, claimed that the state government’s petition was an attempt to thwart the investigation against Deskhmukh, according to Bar and Bench.
He said that the state government had not objected before the High Court or Supreme Court when Jaiswal was appointed as the CBI chief.
Former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels.
Deshmukh had resigned from the Maharashtra Cabinet due to the allegations made against him. In April, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a case against him based on Singh’s claims. In June, the Enforcement Directorate initiated a money laundering case against the Nationalist Congress Party leader on the basis of the chargesheet filed by CBI.