New Delhi, Mar 31 (ILNS) The Bombay High Court today pulled up former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, asking him why he did not approach the police or CBI before bringing the matter to the courts regarding the alleged malpractices by Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
Hearing the plea filed by Singh seeking a CBI investigation into the corruption charges against Deshmukh, Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta said that no police officer, Minister or politician is above the law. “Why should the law be set aside for a Police Commissioner? Singh should not view himself so high, the law is above him,” he added.
Contemplating whether Singh’s plea against Deshmukh was maintainable or not, the court said it will address the matter on two aspects – is the PIL maintainable and can the court direct investigation without an FIR.
Singh, who was recently replaced as the Mumbai Police chief and transferred to the Home Guard Department, in the backdrop of the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case, had alleged in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh was involved in malpractices.
In the letter, Singh said the state Home Minister had asked arrested police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore every month from bars and restaurants. Singh told the court that these hard facts were coming from a person, who has served for more than 30 years on the highest post in the police force in Mumbai.
“There has to be an FIR to investigate. Who stopped Singh from filing an FIR? Prima facie observation is there can be no investigation without an FIR. How can the case be handed over to CBI when there’s no FIR?,” the court said.
When Singh argued that even a simple letter to the Judges can become a PIL, the court reminded him that he is a police officer. If he finds an offence has been committed, he is duty bound to file an FIR. Simply writing letters to the Chief Minister won’t do, the Bench observed.
The Court also asked Singh to show the complaint first hand and affidavits from Vaze and other officers that the Home Minister said this in their presence. To which, the former police chief said he had discussed the subject with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, but his pleas have not been paid heed to. ILNS/SNG/RJ