Hearing former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s and Maharashtra government’s plea, the Supreme Court on 8 April refrained from interfering with the High Court order directing a CBI probe. The top court asserted that Anil Deshmukh will have to face the CBI preliminary probe, adding that the central agency will continue to investigate the allegations levelled by former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh.
The NCP leader and the Maharashtra government had moved the top court challenging the Bombay High Court order directing a preliminary inquiry by the CBI in the extortion allegations levelled by former Mumbai Commissioner of Police (CP) Param Bir Singh. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices SK Kaul and Hemant Gupta heard the matter on Thursday.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the NCP leader has resigned as the Home Minister making case for a probe by state agencies. Countering Singhvi’s arguments, Justice Gupta pointed out that Deshmukh had not resigned when the Commission of Inquiry was constituted by the State, thereby showing that the NCP leader was ‘clinging’ to the office. Justice Kaul also noted that the allegations are not levelled by Deshmukh’s ‘enemy’ but almost his ‘right-hand man’ as Param Bir Singh was Mumbai’s top cop under the Home Minister.
Appearing for former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Kapil Sibal argued that there was no ‘evidentiary value’ to the accusations levelled by Param Bir Singh. Terming it to be ‘hearsay,’ Sibal said that the accusations are not ‘prima facie reliable and not admissible’. “It will be a sad day in this country if your Lordships will uphold an order like this. Let me go to HC. But, an order like this cannot be passed behind my back,” Sibal argued. Pronouncing the order, Justice Kaul maintained that the SC bench is not inclined towards interfering in the Bombay High Court order.
The CBI will record the statements of Sachin Vaze and ex-Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh on 8 April in the Preliminary Enquiry registered against Anil Deshmukh, sources said. On Wednesday, the central agency recorded the statement of complainant Jaishri Patil and obtained permission to question Vaze in NIA custody. The suspended Assistant Police Inspector is a key suspect in the Antilia bomb scare case and the Mansukh Hiren death case.