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Is the legal noose tightening around Anil Deshmukh?

On April 21st, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered an FIR against the former Home Minister of Maharashtra and NCP leader, Anil Deshmukh after a 15 day preliminary investigation.

After former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh had written a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, stating that the then Home Minister of Maharashtra, Anil Deshmukh had asked the suspended cop Sachin Waze to extort 100 crore a month from bars, restaurants and other business establishments and that Deshmukh had a role in transferring police personnel; the now DG- Home Guard, Singh moved the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh which was then ordered by the Bench.

After a preliminary inquiry into the matter and taking statements of various individuals including Anil Deshmukh, the CBI registered an FIR, based on their findings, against the NCP leader and unknown others under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120B of the IPC; for the suspected offence of attempting to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of the public duty. The CBI FIR mentions how Sachin Waze, former Assistant Police Inspector, Mumbai Police was reinstated into the police force after being out of the service for more than 15 years and was then entrusted with most of the sensational and important cases of Mumbai city police and that the then Home Minister was in knowledge of this fact.

The CBI FIR also mentions the accusation made by Parambir Singh according to which Anil Deshmukh being the Home Minister of Maharashtra and others exercised undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials and thereby exercising undue influence over the performance of official duties by the officials. It is categorically stated that all these facts mentioned above, prima facie disclose the commission of cognizable offences punishable under the mentioned Sections of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Following this, the Maharashtra Government moved the Bombay High Court through the Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department, and filed a petition challenging certain portions of the FIR saying that those portions were trying to ‘destabilize the government in Maharashtra’. The petition sought to quash two paragraphs in the FIR which revolved around the reinstatement of Waze and alleged undue influence over transfers of police personnel, arguing that these were not the points to be investigated upon as per the April 5th order of the Bombay High Court when it ordered the CBI to begin with the probe. And that doing so without the State’s consent was a violation of the law.

The petition also stated that the CBI was trying to initiate an inquiry into transfers and postings of officers by the Government and it was to protect a select few people, and therefore, unauthorized and unsustainable. The petition stated that the CBI had violated Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act by initiating a probe into these matters. This Section prohibits the agency from exercising its powers in a State which has revoked its consent from the CBI to carry out a probe, until granted permission by the Courts.

On the other hand, Anil Deshmukh had himself moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the FIR registered by the CBI against him. He had approached the Court on 3rd May, seeking an interim order to protect him of any ‘coercive action’ by the CBI. Then, on May 6th, the Bombay High Court took up the matter and granted the State of Maharashtra and Anil Deshmukh the liberty to approach the vacation Bench in case they wanted to seek urgent interim reliefs. Nevertheless, the Court adjourned Deshmukh’s petition stating that it would not pass any orders on the point of interim relief without hearing the CBI and the State Government’s petition was adjourned due to a want of time.

The CBI sought an interval of 4 weeks to file a reply to the petition and therefore the liberty to approach the vacation Bench was granted to Deshmukh, for reliefs after giving a 48 hours notice to the CBI of him wanting to approach the Court.

Talking about Anil Deshmukh’s role in the police transfers, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis had leaked call intercepts between IPS officers and other sensitive details in the month of March, to allege that Anil Deshmukh indulged in corrupt malpractices while affecting police transfers and postings. As a result, Mumbai’s cyber police had registered an FIR against IPS officer Rashmi Shukla because the calls were recorded when she headed the State Intelligence Department (SID). And according to Maharashtra State Secretary Sitaram Kunte, it was Shukla who herself had leaked the confidential information to Fadnavis. The CBI had earlier recorded Shukla’s statement.

On 6th May, the Bombay High Court granted protection to Rashmi Shukla from arrest in the case filed against her by the Mumbai Police. With this, the High Court also allowed the State Government to record Shukla’s statement.

 

 

Sonakshi Datta

Intern, Goa Chronicle

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

#Anil Deshmukh, #CBI, #Parambir Singh, #Mumbai Police, #Maharashtra Government

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