The Bombay High Court today declined to give any interim protection to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh from any coercive action by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The court directed the former minister to move the vacation bench of the high court on the basis of the urgency of the case if needed. Deshmukh thus continues to run out of favour of the judiciary. Hearing a plea of former Maharashtra home minister and Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court had on 8 April refrained from interfering with the high court order directing a CBI probe.
Adjourning Deshmukh’s petition challenging the CBI FIR against him in the corruption/extortion case, the Bombay High Court asked the CBI to file a reply to the plea in four weeks. The next hearing in the matter will be after the summer vacation of the court, reported the news agency.
Allegations of corruption and misconduct were levelled against Deshmukh by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh had accused Deshkmukh of “malpractices and “malpractices”. He said that the minister also asked suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs100 crore every month from Mumbai restaurants and bars.
The allegations against Deshmukh came to the surface during the probe into the security breach incident that took place in February near Antilia. Following the allegations and the Bombay high court’s direction to CBI to start an inquiry, the minister resigned from his post within 15 days of the allegations. The court directed the agency to register an FIR in case of discovery of any cognizable offence.
The CBI conducted raids at four premises of Deshmukh on 24 April after registering an FIR against him in the corruption matter. The agency found incriminating documents and digital devices during the searches.
Deshmukh had on 3 May moved the Bombay High Court to quash an FIR registered against him by the central investigation agency over the corruption row and also pleaded for interim protection from any coercive action taken by the agency.
The Maharashtra government also filed a petition before the court seeking to remove some portions from the FIR registered by the CBI. The state government said that some portions of the FIR registered by the agency against Deshmukh were intended to “destabilise” the Shiv Sena-led ruling coalition.