Param Bir Singh moves Bombay HC against preliminary inquiry orders

HC seeks Maharashtra's response on allegations

THE BOMBAY High Court on Thursday asked the state to respond to a criminal writ petition, filed by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, challenging two preliminary inquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra government. Singh filed a fresh petition on April 27.

The first order is the April 1 state directive that had asked Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey to initiate a preliminary probe against Singh under the All India Services (Conduct) Rules in connection with the Ambani security case.

The April 20 order directed Pandey to initiate an inquiry against Singh over the allegations, made by Inspector Anup Dange, who was suspended last year and recently reinstated, and sought to quash the same.

Dange in his letter to the state home department alleged that Singh had demanded Rs 2 crore from him to revoke suspension and tried to save some people through his underworld connections when he was the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s DG.

Singh also sought directions to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the alleged “criminal conspiracy and malicious attempts to thwart” its preliminary inquiry as per the HC order of April 5. “The impugned orders are aimed at silencing petitioners and pressurising him to withdraw allegations against former home minister Anil Deshmukh,” the plea said.

On Thursday, Singh’s petition was mentioned before a division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale. Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi for Singh said the first order was passed by Deshmukh, while the second by the present home minister over allegations of corruption made by a police inspector.

Rohatgi added that on April 19 Singh had a meeting with Pandey during which the DGP had allegedly advised him to withdraw the letter, which levelled charges of corruption and misuse of position against Deshmukh, sent to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Singh said he had also informed other senior leaders about Deshmukh’s “malpractices”.

Rohatgi said that Pandey told Singh in the meeting that the government was considering initiating multiple criminal cases against Singh. As per Rohatgi, Pandey advised Singh to withdraw the March 20 letter and if the same is done, the CBI case against Deshmukh would not stand.
He said Singh had recorded his conversation with Pandey and sent its copy to the CBI. “Inquiries against the petitioner are arbitrary and illegal, and the same should be set aside,” Rohatgi said.

Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare for the state sought time to respond to the plea, while Singh sought interim protection and stay on the inquiries till further orders. When the court asked Singh whether showcause notices were issued to him over any of the inquiry, Rohatgi replied in negative.
“If no showcause notice has been issued to Singh till date, what is the urgency and need for us to pass any interim orders at this stage? It is an enquiry of violation of some service rules. At the most it is a service matter. Let the government respond to the allegations,” the HC said.
Seeking response from the state, the court posted the further hearing to May 4.

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