Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. (ANI file photo)
Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. (ANI file photo)

CBI can probe postings as part of Deshmukh case: Bombay HC

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar held that keeping in view the observation made in the April 5 order, directing the CBI to carry out a preliminary enquiry against Deshmukh, the CBI can legitimately investigate alleged corruption, transfers and posting of police officers and reinstatement of controversial police officer Sachin Vaze.
By KAY Dodhiiya, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 23, 2021 11:08 AM IST

Mumbai The Bombay high court on Thursday dismissed a petition by the state government for dropping two paragraphs in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) FIR related to the probe against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh and other unknown persons.

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar held that keeping in view the observation made in the April 5 order, directing the CBI to carry out a preliminary enquiry against Deshmukh, the CBI can legitimately investigate alleged corruption, transfers and posting of police officers and reinstatement of controversial police officer Sachin Vaze.

The court however held that the order of division bench cannot be “an unfettered authority to CBI” and the investigation has to be carried on under the law of the land.

“Conversely, the order of the division bench cannot be construed as giving an unfettered authority to CBI to inquire into transfers and postings of the police officers generally, which do not reflect upon the alleged acts and conduct expressly attributed to the former home minister and his confederates. We part with this judgement with an assurance that officers of CBI, a premier investigating agency, are and must be fully allowed to take their responsibilities. And the duty of police constituted under either state enactment or special Act, is to serve none but the law,” said the bench.

In March this year, former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray levelled allegations of corruption against Deshmukh.

Senior counsel Rafique Dada, appearing for the state government sought the hight court to stay its judgment for a period of two weeks. The state government petition alleged that the CBI included the two paragraphs to try and destabilise the present government in Maharashtra at the behest of the political party which was not in power in the state

The paragraphs in the FIR that were disputed by the state in its petition stated “the central agency in its preliminary enquiry (PE) had found that former state home minister Anil Deshmukh was aware of the reinstatement of now suspended API Sachin Vaze into the police after 15 years and sensitive and sensational cases being given to Vaze for investigation.” The second paragraph stated that Deshmukh and others exercised undue influnce over the transfer and postings of police officers as alleged by Rashmi Shukla in her letter to her superiors. .

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, however, opposed it and said a stay would amount to interference with the investigation.

The high court bench refused to stay its judgment.

The CBI on April 21 this year registered an FIR against Deshmukh on charges of corruption and misuse of official position. Deshmukh resigned as the home minister after the court directed the CBI to conduct a probe into the allegations in April. However, he has denied any wrongdoing.

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