The Supreme Court on Thursday said allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh by ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh were ‘serious’ and required a CBI probe.
A bench of justices S K Kaul and Hemant Gupta were hearing the petitions filed by the Maharashtra government and Deshmukh against a CBI probe.
“Allegations are serious, the home minister and Police commissioner are involved. They’re closely working together till they fall apart, both holding a particular position. Should the CBI not probe? The nature of allegations and the persons involved require independent probe,” said SC Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
It is only preliminary enquiry and nothing is wrong in it when serious allegations are made by senior officer against a senior minister, the bench said when counsel for Deshmukh alleged that oral allegations were made without any substance and CBI probe was ordered without hearing him.
Petitions were filed by the Maharashtra government and Deshmukh earlier this week, challenging the Bombay High Court order directing a CBI probe into the allegations.
In its plea, the state government questioned the procedure adopted by high court in passing the order. The state was heard on question of maintainability of the pleas seeking CBI investigation against Deshmukh and the order too was reserved on that issue but the court finally ended up directing the probe on April 5, the plea said.
Demanding a CBI enquiry into Deshmukh, Param Bir Singh, in his plea filed on March 25, said the minister asked police officers, including suspended cop Sachin Vaze, to extort Rs100 crore from bars and restaurants.
Deshmukh, who has denied all allegations, resigned from the state government citing ‘moral’ grounds hours after the April 5 HC order directing a probe into his conduct.
“The high court asked the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry. In the wake of the court’s decision I don’t feel morally right to continue on the position of the home minister. Hence, I have decided to step down from this position on my own,” read Deshmukh’s letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
In its 52-page judgement, the high court had said Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh had put at stake the citizen’s faith in the state police.