DGP Pandey’s interaction with Param Bir Singh proves that state tried to protect Anil Deshmukh: CBI to HC

CBI informed the Bombay high court (HC) that DGP Sanjay Pandey’s interaction with former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh was proof that the state was trying to protect former home minister Anil Deshmukh
Former home minister Anil Deshmukh have allegedly been accused of corruption. The HC was informed by additional solicitor-general Aman Lekhi for CBI that there was mala fide in the intention of the state government in seeking the transfer of the investigation. (Hindustan Times)
Former home minister Anil Deshmukh have allegedly been accused of corruption. The HC was informed by additional solicitor-general Aman Lekhi for CBI that there was mala fide in the intention of the state government in seeking the transfer of the investigation. (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 23, 2021 08:18 PM IST
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ByKAY Dodhiya, Mumbai

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), while responding to the petition filed by the Maharashtra government seeking the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) headed by a retired judge, informed the Bombay high court (HC) that the director-general of police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey’s interaction with former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh was proof that the state was trying to protect former home minister Anil Deshmukh, against whom there are allegations of corruption. The CBI further added that the fact that the state was trying to shield chief secretary Sitaram Kunte and DGP Pandey from recording statements were enough grounds for Singh to feel apprehensive and be fearful of being victimised.

The division bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and justice Sarang Kotwal, while hearing the petition filed by the state, seeking transfer of the CBI investigation into the first information report (FIR) filed by it on April 21 to a retired judge-headed SIT, was informed by additional solicitor-general Aman Lekhi for CBI that there was mala fide in the intention of the state government in seeking the transfer of the investigation.

Referring to the issue, raised in the petition of the purported harassment of Kunte and Pandey by the CBI by issuing them summons, Lekhi submitted that as both officials were in the know and were part of the issue of posting and transfer of police officers, hence they were being summoned to record their statements. However, the state did not want their statements to be recorded and hence was resorting to accusations of harassment against CBI.

“They may be the top officials of the state, but they are not above the law. The state forgets that no one is above the law and by filing the petition, it is trying to derail the investigation,” said Lekhi. He said that the claim of harassment of the officials was not valid as the CBI had given the officers the option of recording their statements in Mumbai. Lekhi added that the assumption by the state that their officers would be made to admit material that would go against Deshmukh, was sufficient to prove the malice intended by the state in the petition.

Lekhi then refuted the claim by the state government that Pandey had been appointed as DGP only after the alleged instances of the offences had been committed and hence his statement could not have bearing on the CBI investigation. “Pandey’s statement is not pertaining to the corruption allegations against Deshmukh but his conversation with Singh, transcripts of which show that Pandey had tried to advise Singh to withdraw the letter written by him to the chief minister on March 20,” said Lekhi.

Lekhi submitted that the conversation showed that Pandey on behalf of the state, was trying to weaken the case against Deshmukh, and in its wake was also trying to undo the intention of the HC order of April 5, wherein the court had found a need for an investigation into the corruption allegations against Deshmukh by an external agency.

In light of these submissions, Lekhi informed the bench that in such a situation Singh had a valid reason to be apprehensive of appearing before the state investigating authorities and was not responding to the summons issued to him.

On a query by the bench as to when the arguments on behalf of CBI would be completed, as Lekhi had already argued for around five hours, the court was assured that the same would be completed on Wednesday.

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Monday, November 29, 2021