Supreme Court rejects Anil Deshmukh’s appeal against CBI probe; says nature of allegations needs inquiry by independent agency

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The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court’s order directing the CBI to probe allegations made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta said in its order, “The nature of allegations and personas involved needs an enquiry by independent agency. It is a matter of public confidence. We are not inclined to entertain this. Dismissed.”

अनिल देशमुख
file photo of Anil Deshmukh

Param Bir Singh had alleged that Deshmukh ordered the suspended cop Sachin Vaze to collect Rs. 100 crore from pubs, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai every month on his personal fund. Deshmukh has denied his allegations.

The Bombay High Court last week had ordered the CBI to complete the probe within 15 days, prompting Deshmukh to step down from his post. The high court, in its order, had said, “Director of CBI is allowed to conduct preliminary inquiry. Such preliminary inquiry be ordered in accordance with law and be concluded within 15 days Once the preliminary inquiry is complete, director CBI (would) be at discretion to (decide on the) further course of action.”

Appearing for the Maharashtra government, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Bombay Court had failed to address the question of maintability. This, according to the Bar and Bench website, prompted Justice Kaul to remark, “All these problems are arising because of the fallout that has happened. Allegations are extremely serious and it becomes curious and curious. In this scenario is it not a CBI probe case?”

The top court also pointed out how Deshmukh did not resign initially and ‘did so only after the High Court directed a probe.’ “It means the Home Minister was clinging on to office,” said the Supreme Court Bench.