The Maharashtra government today moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court’s order for a preliminary probe by the CBI into allegations of extortion against former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. This comes just a day after Deshmukh resigned as state home minister after the High Court directed the central investigating agency to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days into the charges levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Later, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari handed over the charge of the home department to cabinet minister and NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil. Earlier today, Patil had said that the government would move the top court seeking cancellation of the HC order against Anil Deshmukh. “The government will challenge the high court’s order in the Supreme Court,” he said.
Directing a CBI probe, the bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni said this was an “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” case that warranted an independent inquiry. “We agree that this is an unprecedented case before the court…Deshmukh is Home Minister who leads the police… There has to be an independent inquiry…But, the CBI need not register an FIR immediately,” the court was quoted as saying PTI.
The court said that since the state government had already ordered an inquiry by a high-level committee into the matter, the CBI need not immediately register an FIR. It, however, said that the central agency must complete the preliminary inquiry within 15 days and then take a decision on further course of action.
Following the order, Deshmukh resigned on moral grounds. Param Bir Singh has accused him of directing his officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly from 1750 restaurants and bars operating in Mumbai as bribe. In a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the former top cop said that Deshmukh had called Sachin Vaze and instructed him to help him collect Rs 100 crore monthly.
“In and around mid-February and thereafter, the Hon’ble Home Minister had called Shri Vaze to his official residence…Hon’ble Home Minister expressed to Shri Vaze that he had a target to accumulate Rs. 100 crores a month. For achieving the target, the Hon’ble Home Minister told Shri Vaze that there are about 1,750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai and if a sum of Rs. 2-3 lakhs each was collected from each of them, a monthly collection of Rs. 40-50 crores was achievable. The Hon’ble Home Minister added that the rest of the collection could be made from other sources,” Param Bir Singh said in his letter to the CM.