The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra Police to not take any coercive action against former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh till March 9, Live Law reported. Singh has been accused in five extortion cases.

The bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh said it will soon take a call on whether cases against Singh should be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The judges also asked the Maharashtra government to “completely take its hands off” the cases till they pass a verdict. The state administration has agreed to do so.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has told the court that the allegations against Singh were overlapping with its inquiry into the case of corruption against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. In view of this, the central agency said in an affidavit that it should investigate the cases against Singh.

The court also said that the situation involving Singh could shake people’s faith in the police system, Live Law reported.

“We have had occasion to say earlier that it is a messy state of affairs,” said Kaul. “Very unfortunate situation. It has the propensity of necessarily shaking the confidence of people in the police system.”

The bench has been hearing a petition filed by Singh against a Bombay High Court judgement on September 16. The High Court had dismissed Singh’s plea to stop preliminary investigation against him in two cases. One of these cases pertains to alleged dereliction of duty and misconduct, while the other one is related to corruption charges. Both of them were initiated by the Maharashtra government.

In his plea, Singh had contended that the inquiries were an attempt to thwart an investigation against Deshmukh.

In March last year, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had extorted money from bars and restaurants in Mumbai. But the Maharashtra government had said Singh could not be considered a whistleblower as he made the accusations only after he was removed as the police commissioner of Mumbai.

After his removal as the Mumbai Police chief, Singh was made the director-general of the Maharashtra Home Guard. He was suspended from service in December after he did not show up for duty for six months.

The former police officer had gone missing in October, following which he was declared a proclaimed offender. After he reappeared in November, he was questioned by Crime Branch officers in one of the extortion cases against him.