The Maharashtra government and former State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh have approached the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order allowing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The Special Leave Petitions against the High Court verdict were filed on Tuesday on the ground that the High Court passed final order on merits of the petition, though the case was listed for hearing on maintainability.
No pleadings and facts were before the High Court justifying a CBI inquiry, the appeal filed by State government before the top court said.
Anil Deshmukh in his plea has averred that never in the “annals of judicial history” has allegations against a sitting Minister been “taken on face value” and an “outside agency” been directed to conduct an inquiry without calling for a response from the Minister to conduct a preliminary enquiry.
Referring to the CBI as an “outside agency” Deshmukh has submitted that the Bombay High Court order paints the entire State machinery as “untrustworthy” and that no probe could have been conducted by a State investigating agency.
The Bombay High Court had on Monday morning allowed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations of malpractices by Deshmukh.
However, since the State has already initiated a probe by a high-level committee into the matter, the High Court had added that the CBI need not immediately register an FIR in the case. The Bench said that the preliminary probe should be completed in 15 days and that the CBI can decide on the future course of action after this preliminary inquiry is completed.
On the question of maintainability of the Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni held that it would not like to address the issue.
“Be that as it may, we do not wish to be drawn into the larger controversy raised on the aspect of maintainability of the PIL of Shri Param Bir and of Shri Upadhyay. The controversy, in our considered opinion, which is common to these petitions, can be taken care of within a narrow compass by deciding whether, if at all, and to what extent, if any, action on the complaint of Dr. Patil should be directed to be taken,” the High Court said.
Soon after the verdict, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh resigned from the post.