SC refuses to entertain Param Bir Singh’s plea towards Maharashtra minister; asks him to go to Bombay HC

Satya Prakash

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, March 24

Refusing to entertain former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s petition seeking an “unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair” CBI probe into his allegations of corruption against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked him to approach the Bombay High Court.

A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul wondered why Singh didn’t approach the Bombay High Court and why the person against the petition has been filed (Deshmukh) was not made a party to the case.

“This is a matter of serious public interest for the whole nation. A police officer is transferred citing administrative grounds but the Home Minister himself said on TV that it’s not an administrative transfer… The entire State is rocked. Police reforms have not taken place,” senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi submitted on behalf of Singh.

“The point is simple. He (Singh) is making some allegations and the Minister is also making some allegations. I don’t see a point why you should not move the high court,” Justice Kaul said, adding high courts have wider powers under Article 226 of the constitution.

As Rohatgi said the top court had entertained petitions under Article 32 on much lesser important issues,” the Bench shot back, “If you give a list of cases entertained under 32, I can also give cases we have relegated back to high courts.”

While agreeing with Rohatgi that it’s a serious matter, the top court said, “The high court can deal with it.”

On the issue of police reforms, Justice Kaul pointed out “That’s the case with all states – Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh… Not just Maharashtra.”

The Bench said, “We have no doubt matter is quite serious affecting administration at large. In view of it, liberty to approach the high court is granted.”

Singh — who had written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray accusing Deshmukh of “interfering” in investigations – had sought directions to the Maharashtra Government, the Centre and the CBI to immediately take into custody the CCTV footage from Deshmukh’s residence.

Rohatgi said Singh’s petition would be filed in the high court on Wednesday itself. He requested the top court to issue a direction to the high court to take up the matter on Thursday as CCTV evidence was involved.

“The request is to be made before the high court,” said the top court.

Terming the March 17 order transferring him from the post of Mumbai Police chief before completion of the minimum fixed tenure of two years as “arbitrary” and “illegal”, the 1988 batch IPS officer had said it was more of a politically influenced move by certain political parties aggrieved by the revelation of the corrupt practices of Deshmukh to the Chief Minister.”

He had also urged the court to protect him from any further coercive steps apprehended in retaliation for laying bare Deshmukh’s alleged misdeeds.

While denying Singh’s allegations, Deshmukh had issued a press release threatening to initiate defamation proceedings against him.

He had accused Deshmukh of interfering in various investigations and instructing the police officers to conduct the same in a particular manner as desired by him.

“Deshmukh had been holding meetings in February, 2021 at his residence with police officers including Sachin Vaze of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai and Sanjay Patil, ACP Social Service Branch, Mumbai, bypassing their seniors and had instructed them that he had a target to accumulate Rs 100 crore every month and had directed to collect money from various establishments and other sources,” Singh had alleged.

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