CBI failed to follow rule of law, acted arbitrarily: Anil Deshmukh to Bombay HC
Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh’s counsel on Friday argued before the Bombay high court (HC) that though its April 5 order had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry against the politician in accordance with law, the Central agency had commenced the probe without following the protocol of informing the state about it.
Deshmukh has moved HC for quashing of the April 21 first information report (FIR) against him filed by CBI on the allegations of corruption levelled by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
It was argued on behalf of the politician that CBI had not followed proper procedure as per section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which mandates prior consent of the state government before registration of an FIR, nor did it seek sanction of the state under section 17A of Prevention of Corruption Act to conduct investigation based on the FIR. Hence, the CBI action was illegal and arbitrary, Deshmukh’s counsel argued.
A division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice NJ Jamadar, while hearing Deshmukh’s petition, was informed by senior counsel Amit Desai along with advocate Kamlesh Ghumre that there were serious procedural lapses on CBI’s part after HC ordered a probe against the then home minister of the state.
While commencing his arguments for quashing of the FIR, Desai argued that the Supreme Court in one of its judgments had observed that a constitutional court should exercise caution when ordering a preliminary probe against a public servant if the accusations were uncorroborated and merely based on ‘whispers’. Desai said HC, while passing the April 5 order, should have considered the Apex court’s observations. However, the current bench, during a previous hearing, had clarified that it was only dealing with the petition challenging the FIR and would not review the April 5 order.
Thereafter, Desai submitted that even before commencing the inquiry, CBI was bound to inform and get the state’s sanction to commence, it as it was probing Deshmukh’s role in the allegation when he was a public servant, but the central agency had failed to do so.
Desai argued that while even 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab got the benefit under the rule of law, none was accorded to Deshmukh, and hence, CBI’s action was arbitrary. He further submitted that as the Maharashtra government had withdrawn the blanket consent to register FIR, CBI had to get the consent of the state prior to registering the case. It also did not take the consent of the state as per the Prevention of Corruption Act to initiate investigation against Deshmukh on the basis of the FIR, said the counsel.
Desai will continue arguments on the invalidity of the contents of the FIR filed by CBI on July 5, which will then be countered by CBI.