CBI submits interim report in Anil Deshmukh case
Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday filed an interim report of its preliminary enquiry into corruption allegations against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh made by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh.
A senior CBI officer said the report is based on the evidence collected so far during various search operations and on the basis of statements of several witnesses. The agency moved an application before the special CBI court on Friday , seeking permission to submit the report. The court accepted the report filed in a sealed envelope.
On April 21, the central agency registered a case against Deshmukh under sections 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 120B of the Indian Penal Code.
The first information report (FIR), based on Singh’s allegations, came after CBI was ordered to conduct a preliminary enquiry by the Bombay high court on April 5.
Singh took legal recourse after his March 20 letter to the chief minister and the governor, alleging that Deshmukh ordered Mumbai police assistant inspector Sachin Vaze to extort money from restaurants and bars. His complaint came after he was removed as commissioner for his handling of the Antilla explosives case.
An SUV laden with explosives (20 loose sticks of gelatin; no timer or detonator) was found parked outside billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Antilia, in south Mumbai on February 25. Vaze, who was part of the Mumbai crime branch, was initially lead investigator in the case. However, after a Thane-based businessman linked to the car, turned up dead, Vaze was transferred out of his department. He was later arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as prime suspect in the explosives case. He has also been named suspect in the murder investigation of the businessman, Mansukh Hiran.
Deshmukh, a leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government sought to brazen out the issue initially as Singh approached the Supreme Court seeking a CBI investigation into the alleged extortion racket. The top court refused to intervene and said Singh could approach the high court. Deshmukh resigned citing moral grounds after the high court asked the CBI to conduct the preliminary inquiry within 15 days and left it to the discretion of the agency’s director to decide the further course of action.
In its FIR, CBI claimed, “The preliminary enquiry prima facie revealed that a cognisable offence was made out in the matter, wherein the then home minister of Maharashtra Shri Anil Deshmukh and unknown others have attempted to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of their public duty.”
“The enquiry has also revealed that Shri Sachin Vaze, assistant police inspector, Mumbai Police, had been reinstated into the police force after being out of the service for more than 15 years. The enquiry further revealed that Shri Vaze was entrusted with most of the sensational and important cases of Mumbai Police and at the then home minister’s knowledge,” read the FIR. It also mentioned the allegations made by Singh against Deshmukh.
A day after registering the FIR, CBI conducted searches at Deshmukh’s premises in Mumbai and his home town Nagpur. CBI also obtained records of investigation and evidence gathered from Vaze by National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the Antilia explosives case. The agency has also recorded statements of several people, including Deshmukh, his personal assistant, secretary and some police officers.