Likelihood Of Bias - Supreme Court Restrains Mumbai Police From Filing Charge Sheet Against Param Bir Singh
The Supreme Court today restrained the Mumbai Police from filing charge sheets in the FIRs against Param Bir Singh while permitting it to carry on the investigation against the former Mumbai Police Commissioner over the allegations of misconduct and corruption.
A bench comprising Justice S K Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh also directed the CBI to file its response on the issue whether the probe should be handed over to it.
The Court said that it was concerned with the likelihood of bias.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said the FIRs should also be entrusted to the central probe agency and he will file an affidavit regarding the same.
Senior Advocate Darius Kambatta, appearing for Maharashtra, stated that Singh's petition was a service dispute against departmental enquiries, which should be contested before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
The Bench then asked, what are your allegations regarding his service etc, that is for you to take. But this is one of the very unfortunate messages.
The only concern that we should have is, whether in regards to other matter, whether the CBI should consider the same or not, Bench said.
Senior Advocate Puneet Bali, appearing for Singh, told the Court that the Maharashtra government was acting with mala fide against the former Police Commissioner.
After your lordships' order, I (Singh) have joined the investigation. All non-bailable warrants and proclamations against me have been cancelled. Then they file a charge sheet in one of the FIRs. That is a complaint filed by a person against whom I took action. Then they suspended me. The State of Maharashtra is trying to scuttle your lordships' orders, Bali said.
The Court court noted the submissions and allowed the Mumbai Police to carry on the investigation but restrained it from filing the charge sheet.
The Court also extended the interim protection granted to Singh till January 1, 2022, when it will hear the matter next.
The State Police had earlier told the Apex Court that Singh cannot be considered as a "whistleblower" under the law as he chose to speak out against alleged corruption involving former home minister Anil Deshmukh only after his transfer.
The Court had granted a major relief to Singh on November 22 by directing the Maharashtra Police not to arrest him in criminal cases lodged against him and had wondered if he was being hounded for filing cases against police officers and extortionists, "what could happen to a common man", the Bench had asked.
Seeking dismissal of Singh's plea for a CBI probe into the entire matter and against any coercive action by the state, the Maharashtra government has filed a reply affidavit and said that the ongoing probe in criminal cases against the former cop not be interfered with.
Prior to this, the Bombay High Court had dismissed Singh's petition seeking to quash inquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra government, and said he can approach the Central Administrative Tribunal.
The High Court had held that it was a service matter and rejected his claim that the government's action was a consequence of his allegations of corruption against then Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
After Singh was shunted out as Mumbai Police Commissioner in March 2021 in the aftermath of the 'Antilia bomb scare case', in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, he levelled corruption allegations against Deshmukh.
In his petition, Singh had also alleged that DGP Pande told him that the inquiries were the fall-out of his allegations against Deshmukh, an NCP leader.
Singh was transferred to the Home Guard after Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze was arrested in the case of an SUV with explosives found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house, 'Antilia', and the subsequent suspicious death of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
With PTI inputs