The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition by the Maharashtra government calling for a Special Investigation Team to look into the case against the state’s former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Bar and Bench reported.
The state government had challenged a Bombay High Court order from December 15 that had dismissed its petition that sought to hand over Central Bureau of Investigation’s anti-corruption probe against Deshmukh to a court-monitored Special Investigation Team.
The investigation agency and Enforcement Directorate are also inquiring into an allegation that Deshmukh exercised undue influence over transfers and postings of police officers.
A bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh said on Friday that “it would not touch this matter”.
The state government’s petition said that the Central Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry could be biased as former Maharashtra Police chief Subodh Kumar Jaiswal was now heading the central agency, NDTV reported.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, senior advocate Aryama Sundaram told the court that Jaiswal could either be an accused or a witness, Live Law reported.
“I am not going into likelihood of bias, a person who is relevant as a witness or an accused, he was directly involved...It surely cannot be that a person who is responsible for actions complained about in FIR, be the person to conduct investigation regarding that,” he said.
The Supreme Court, however, did not accept Sundaram’s contentions.
The High Court, in its order, had said that the Central Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry 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.
Allegations against Deshmukh
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in March last year alleging that Deshmukh had asked some officers to extort Rs 100 crore every month from bars and restaurants in the city.
Deshmukh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on November 2 and has been in judicial custody since then. While he has denied the allegations against him, he resigned from the Maharashtra Cabinet on April 5 after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary inquiry against him.
On January 18, the special court had rejected the former minister’s default bail plea. In this plea, Deshmukh had argued that since his arrest in November, the court had not taken cognisance of the chargesheet filed against him within 60 days as prescribed under Section 167 of The Code of Criminal Procedure.