The Supreme Court on Thursday transferred the inquiries into five cases registered against former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh to the Central Bureau of Investigation, reported Live Law. The Maharashtra Police had been handing the investigations so far.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh was hearing a petition filed by Singh against a previous judgement by the Bombay High Court to not 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. The Maharashtra government had initiated both the inquiries. During the hearing of Singh’s plea, the police had filed five other first information reports against Singh on charges including extortion and cheating .
On Thursday, the High Court directed the CBI to hold an impartial inquiry to find out if the allegations in the first information reports against Singh “have some truth or they are repercussions of the appellant raising the red flag”.
“We are not commenting on the allegations,” the court clarified. “We don’t want in any manner to be influenced by our observation.”
The bench also set aside the Bombay High Court’s previous judgement to not stop investigation against Singh. The judges noted that the earlier verdict had made an error to view the matter as “service disputes”.
“So far as departmental enquiry is concerned, the very nature of the present proceedings which emanate from one set of allegations, it would be appropriate to await the result of the investigation now entrusted to CBI,” the judges said on Thursday.
The court also that it if any more FIRs are filed against Singh, the CBI will investigate them.
Singh’s counsel, Senior Advocate Puneet Bali, also told the court that an investigation by the CBI, and not the state police, was essential in the case, as Singh had made allegations against former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh, reported Bar and Bench.
In March last year, Singh had alleged that then Maharashtra Minister Anil Deshmukh had extorted money from bars and restaurants in Mumbai. Singh made the allegations after he was removed from the post of Mumbai Police chief and made the director-general of the Maharashtra Home Guard.
At Thursday’s hearing, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, representing the CBI, also supported Bali’s argument.
“The issue needs to be probed by CBI for a thorough and impartial probe,” he said. “If any other agency also probes this along with CBI then it may create hurdle and overlapping of subject matter. There cannot be parallel investigation.”