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Allegations against Anil Deshmukh: CBI team reaches Mumbai, begins probe

The team will examine several persons including Mumbai Police officers, hotel owners, restaurants etc, said an officer
PUBLISHED ON APR 07, 2021 01:12 AM IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a preliminary inquiry based on the Bombay high court (HC) order on the petition filed by lawyer Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil. In her petitions, Patil had sought directions to Malabar Hill police station to take cognisance of her letter, which sought an inquiry into the allegations by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.

According to CBI sources, a team comprising six officers reached Mumbai from Delhi on Tuesday. The half-a-dozen officers will probe the allegations and it involves examining several persons including Mumbai Police officers, hotel owners, restaurants etc, said an officer who didn’t want to be named.

Officials cited above said they will examine Singh, who had levelled serious allegations against Deshmukh in a letter written to state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on March 20, days after he was shunted out to a low key post in the department. The agency will also record Patil’s statement. They added Deshmukh is also likely to be examined in the later.

HC on Monday, in its 52-page judgment, had directed CBI to conclude the preliminary probe within 15 days.

The court had observed that Malabar Hill police had failed to take action on Patil’s complaint, which had pointed to a “cognisable offence” being committed by Deshmukh.

HC noted that it could not remain a “mute spectator” to the complaints received against high-level officers and ruled, “It is, hence, certainly an issue of credibility of state machinery, which would stare at face when confronted with the expectations of law, and when such complaints are received against high-ranking public officials. This court cannot be a mute spectator in these circumstances.”

It further observed that as the state police force was under Deshmukh [he resigned after HC’s directions for probe], it would serve the ends of justice if a preliminary probe was conducted by an independent agency such as CBI.

“Deshmukh is home minister. The police department is under his control and direction. There can be no fair, impartial, unbiased and untainted probe if the same were entrusted to the state police force. As of necessity, probe has to be entrusted to an independent agency like CBI,” noted the bench in its judgment on Monday.

“The allegations made by Shri Param Bir Singh are serious in nature and against the highest functionary of the government of Maharashtra, when it comes to the functioning of the police department. Prima facie, the issues are such that the very faith of citizens in the functioning of the police department is at stake. If there is any amount of truth in such allegations, certainly it has a direct effect on the citizens’ confidence in the police machinery in the state. Such allegations, therefore, cannot remain unattended and are required to be looked into in the manner known to law when prima facie they indicate commission of a cognisable offence. It is, hence, certainly an issue of credibility of the state machinery, which would stare at the face when confronted with the expectations of the law and when such complaints are received against high-ranking public officials,” the court observed.

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