The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the Maharashtra government and former state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s petition to cancel the Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the corruption allegations against him, Live Law reported.
Deshmukh had resigned from the state Cabinet on Monday after the Bombay High Court directed the central agency to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta said: “Given the serious nature of allegations, and the personas involved, the matter does require an independent agency to investigate.”
The Supreme Court added that the allegations against Deshmukh were a matter of public confidence. “We may also note that what has been ordered is only a preliminary inquiry” the bench added, according to Live Law. “We are not inclined to interfere with the impugned order.”
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.
Following the Bombay High Court’s order, the CBI had on Tuesday night registered a “preliminary inquiry” into the corruption case. A team of officials reached Mumbai on Tuesday evening to begin the inquiry.
While referring to Singh during Thursday’s hearing, the Supreme Court said: “It is not an enemy of yours who has made the allegation. The man was almost your right hand.”