Bombay high court to hear Param Bir Singh's plea seeking CBI probe against Anil Deshmukh today
The Maharashtra government has, meanwhile, appointed a single-member committee to probe Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh. The minister has denied all the charges against him.
The Bombay High Court will on Wednesday hear a petition filed by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh seeking a probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. Singh has claimed that Deshmukh asked police officer Sachin Vaze to collect ₹100 crore from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Singh initially filed a plea in the Supreme Court, which called the matter serious but asked the former Mumbai top cop to approach the high court. He then filed the criminal Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay high court on March 25.
In his petition, the IPS officer has also raised the issue of alleged corruption in police transfers and postings in Maharashtra.
On Tuesday, senior counsel Vikram Nankani, appearing for Singh, mentioned the petition before a division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice G S Kulkarni and sought urgent hearing.
Chief justice Datta asked Nankani about the prayers sought in the petition and if the PIL is maintainable.
"We will satisfy the court with arguments on the maintainability of the petition," Nankani said.
The high court then posted the PIL for hearing on Wednesday.
Singh made these allegations in an unsigned letter dated March 20, which was addressed to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and other senior bureaucrats and politicians. He said that Deshmukh told Vaze that there are about 1,750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai and if a sum of ₹2-3 lakh each is collected from each of them, a monthly collection of ₹40-50 crore is achievable.
Vaze, the former head of the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai Crime Branch, is in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in planting explosives in an SUV outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in February.
In his PIL, Singh also accused Deshmukh of routinely interfering in police investigations and putting pressure on him to implicate BJP leaders in the case of suicide of Dadra and Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar.
Claiming that Deshmukh met Vaze at his residence in mid-February, Singh also sought a direction from the high court to the CBI to secure CCTV footage of the minister's residence before it was "destroyed".
The Maharashtra government has, meanwhile, appointed a single-member committee to probe Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh. The panel, which will comprise retired Bombay high court judge Kailas Uttamchand Chandiwal, has been given a timeline of six months to submit a report.
Deshmukh denied the charges and the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has rallied behind him.