The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh’s corruption allegations against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Live Law reported. The court said that the preliminary inquiry must be completed in 15 days.
The court was hearing Singh’s petition for a CBI investigation against Deshmukh. “Interest of justice will be done if the director of CBI is allowed to conduct preliminary inquiry,” a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni said. “Once preliminary inquiry is complete, director [of] CBI be at discretion to further course of action.”
While hearing the case last week, the court had asked Singh why no first information report was filed against Deshmukh. “If you find an offence has been committed [when] you are on duty, you are duty-bound to file an FIR,” the court had told Singh. “Why did you not do it?”
On March 20, Singh had accused Deshmukh of extorting money from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours in Mumbai. In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the former police chief wrote that suspended Crime Branch officer Sachin Vaze told him that the minister had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels.
Singh had also accused the home minister of frequently interfering with police investigations in various cases.
Vaze was sent to the custody of the National Investigation Agency on March 15 for his alleged role in placing an explosives-laden vehicle outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani last month. Two days later, Singh – who was handling the investigation – was transferred from his position to the low-key Home Guard department by the state government.
The allegations against Deshmukh have landed the Shiv Sena, the Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party government in a huge controversy. Bharatiya Janata Party leaders claimed there was a possibility that such incidents of alleged extortion were taking place in other Maharashtra cities like Pune, Nagpur and Jalgaon.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh had refuted Singh’s allegations, and claimed that the police officer was trying to cover up after mishandling the Ambani case.