Bombay HC directs CBI to conduct preliminary probe against Anil Deshmukh
The high court observed that the probe against Anil Deshmukh on corruption allegations by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh, can't be independent if it is given to the police as he is the Maharashtra home minister.
The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary investigation within 15 days against Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh over allegations of corruption levelled against him by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Pronouncing its order on Monday, the court noted that directions are required to order an unbiased probe to unearth the truth.
"There can be no independent probe if it is given to the police where Deshmukh is the home minister. The interest of justice will be done if the director of CBI is allowed to conduct a preliminary inquiry. Such an inquiry be conducted in accordance with law and be concluded within 15 days. Once the preliminary inquiry is complete, it will be at the discretion of director CBI to decide on the further course of action," it said.
Last week, the high court reserved its order on various pleas filed in this regard, including one by Singh himself.
The court's order was on a plea filed by Dr. Jaishri Patil. It also disposed of petitions filed by the former police commissioner, along with those by lawyer Ghanshyam Upadhyay and Mohan Bhide, respectively.
Singh was asked by the Supreme Court, where he initially filed his plea, to approach the high court first. On March 17, he was removed from his position as the Mumbai Police commissioner, and sent to a "low-key" post as commandant general, Home Guards, for mishandling the probe into an explosive-laden vehicle found near billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Antilia, on February 25.
On March 20, Singh wrote a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, accusing Deshmukh of asking the Mumbai Police to collect ₹100 crore per month from bars, hotels and restaurants, an allegation denied by both the minister and his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The Maharashtra government has appointed a one-member panel, comprising retired Bombay HC judge Kailash Chandiwal, to probe allegations against the NCP leader, and submit a report in six months.