The Maharashtra government has filed a petition before the Bombay High Court alleging that certain portions of the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh is intended to destabilise the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP government in the State.
The FIR was registered by CBI against Deshmukh after the Bombay High Court had given permission for inquiry on April 5, 2021 on a petition filed by Param Bir Singh, former Commissioner of Mumbai Police. Permission was given to inquire into the complaint filed in this regard by Dr. Jaishri Patil.
The present plea filed by the government through the Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department raised specific objection against two unnumbered paragraphs of the CBI’s FIR and sought quashing of the same.
The two paragraphs pertain to reinstatement of Mumbai cop Sachin Waze and transfer of certain police officers.
The government contended that by initiating probe into the aspects mentioned in the two paragraphs, CBI violated Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act which expressly prohibits the central agency to exercise its powers in a State which has revoked its consent for the CBI to operate except with the leave of High Court or Supreme Court.
Maharashtra is one of the States to have revoked its permission for CBI.
The High Court had, however, given permission to the CBI to probe into the allegations made by Singh against Deshmukh.
The government in its petition contended that the FIR has travelled beyond the limits permitted by the High Court.
By doing so, the demonstrated their intention to “carry out fishing and roving inquiry into the administration of the State government in order to try and find out some material enabling political groups that are presently not in power in the Petitioner State, to try and destabilise the present government,” it was submitted.
State clarified at the outset that the object is not to interfere with CBI’s investigation to the extent it is conducted “strictly in terms of the orders issued by the High Court” of April 5.
State submitted that despite having withdrawn the consent permitting the CBI to exercise their powers in Maharashtra, they could exercise their powers only after a constitutional court permitted them, which was exactly what was done by the High Court through its order in Singh’s plea.
This means that CBI could have registered the FIR only on subjects and issues contained in the complaint of Dr. Jayshri Patil as per the direction of the High Court.
Thus, issues pertaining to “transfer and posting of officials” cannot form a part of the investigation in the FIR, it was submitted.
Transfer of officials and reinstatement of Sachin Waze are aspects which would fall within the administrative domain of the State and its officers and as such the FIR would not prima facie disclose any criminality.
“None of the impugned paragraphs objected to by us disclose any cognizable offence contemplated by Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) of the Prevention of Corruption Act),” the petition said.
The FIR is motivated and intended to protect a select few, the government alleged in its petition.
“The FIR to the impugned extent is clearly actuated with maladies to protect the selected few persons and therefore, wholly malafide and unsustainable,” it was submitted.
The State, therefore, sought quashing and setting aside the two unnumbered paragraphs in the FIR.
As interim relief, the plea also sought to restrain the CBI from acting in furtherance of the two paragraphs in the FIR.
The plea is likely to be heard by the Court this week.