SC to hear Maha, Deshmukh’s pleas against HC order on Thursday

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear petitions filed by Maharashtra government and former state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh challenging the Bombay High Court order directing a CBI preliminary enquiry into corruption allegations levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta will take up the petitions. A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni on Monday had asked the CBI to complete its “preliminary probe” within 15 days on the issues raised by Singh in his “letter-bomb” last month. Hours after the verdict, Deshmukh quit his post.

However, the High Court had said that the CBI need not register a First Information Report (FIR) immediately as the Maharashtra government has already set up a ‘high-level committee’ to probe the matter. “The Government Resolution by the state government for a high-level committee leads us to believe that there is no interference required,” said Chief Justice Datta.

Besides Singh’s PIL, the court heard three other pleas – one filed by Ghanshyam Upadhyay seeking a court-monitored SIT, another by Mohan Bhide wanting a retired HC or SC judge to probe and a third by Jayshri Patil for a CBI, or any other independent agency, probe.

In his plea, Singh had sought a thorough probe by the CBI into his allegations that Deshmukh had asked now arrested Mumbai policeman Sachin Vaze “to collect Rs 100 crore per month” and also challenged his own transfer to Commandant General, Home Guards.

Deshmukh’s plea raised several issues with the High Court order and argued that these are of seminal importance which impact not just the federal structure of the country, but raises issues of procedures which may have a serious impact on polity.

He questioned the ex-parte procedure adopted by the High Court and also asked the apex court to take into consideration the fact that the state government has withdrawn its consent for the CBI to investigate matters in its territory.

“To record in a judicial order, that the police in Maharashtra cannot be trusted with investigating matters of this nature, in the context of allegations of a police officer, proceeded on an assumption, which is unsustainable, and without any demonstrable reason,” said the plea. Deshmukh sought stay on the High Court as interim relief.