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SC Rejects Plea To Have SIT Probe In Corruption Case Against Former Maharashtra CM Anil Deshmukh

SC rejected a plea by the Maharashtra government challenging an order of the Bombay High Court which dismissed its petitions for forming an SIT to probe the corruption case against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.

Anil Deshmukh has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate. (Image: PTI)
Former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea by the Maharashtra government challenging an order of the Bombay High Court which dismissed its petitions for forming an SIT to probe the corruption case against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.

A bench of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh dismissed the plea filed against the high court order dated December 15, 2021. “It is complete red herring… I thought the state will see some sense. But, these are different nature of battles. Sorry, dismissed,” the bench said.

At the outset, senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for the Maharashtra government, submitted that the current CBI director was the former DGP of Maharashtra and part of the Police Establishment Board which oversaw the transfer and postings. He said how can the CBI investigate its own conduct.

“The present director of CBI at the relevant time was the Chairman of the establishment board responsible for the transfer. He will either be possibly an accused or definitely a witness. I am not going into the likelihood of bias, a person who is relevant as a witness or an accused was directly involved.

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“My only submission is that if this is the situation that has arisen your lordship may constitute an SIT or whoever to investigate the matter. It surely cannot be that a person who is responsible for actions complained about in FIR, be the person to conduct an investigation regarding that,” Sundaram said.

On March 24, the apex court had transferred to the CBI the investigation in multiple cases against former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh over allegations of misconduct and corruption saying “a very murky affair is going on amid echelons of power”.

It had said a thorough investigation is required to regain the faith of people in the state police. “The exigencies in the advancement of principles of justice require the investigation to be transferred to CBI. We are not saying appellant (Singh) is a whistle-blower or anyone involved in this case is washed with milk,” the top court had said.

The High Court had in December last year dismissed the Maharashtra government’s petitions for forming an SIT to probe the corruption case against Deshmukh on the ground that CBI’s investigation was not impartial.

The high court had also dismissed the state’s argument that the present CBI director Subodh Jaiswal should not head the central agency’s ongoing probe only because he was the DGP of Maharashtra when Deshmukh was home minister. The high court had said the Maharashtra government’s apprehension regarding Jaiswal was “not reasonable but merely, a created one.”

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