'Picture very disturbing', SC grants protection from arrest to ex-Mumbai CP
Mumbai, November 22, 2021
The Supreme Court on Monday termed the legal battle between former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh as "very disturbing", stating that a former commissioner seems to show lack of faith in the police.
The top court also granted protection from arrest to Singh in the cases lodged against him in Maharashtra, and directed him to join the investigation.
A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and comprising Justice M.M. Sundresh said: "We do find the picture very disturbing. An earlier commissioner seems to show lack of faith in the police! We wonder what would happen to the common man and what kind of faith they would have in the police. The matter has become curiouser in the battle between the then home minister and the then police commissioner."
The bench added that the only question which has to be examined is whether in view of the CBI looking into the matter, the other aspects arising are also to be entrusted to the CBI.
The bench said the stands of the CBI and the state government are also not known as the writ petition stands decided on a threshold point of sending it to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
The bench said: "Prima facie, this may not be the appropriate course of action. The notices issued to the respondents are returnable on December 6. In the meantime, the petitioner shall join the investigation, but shall not be arrested."
Senior advocate Puneet Bali, representing Singh, submitted that his client is very much in India, but apprehends action being taken by the Maharashtra government.
He also submitted that the prayer in the petition was for directing respondent No. 2 (CBI) to inquire and investigate into the criminal conspiracy charges.
Bali submitted that the petition was dismissed at a preliminary stage on the ground that the petitioner must approach the CAT, as the issue raised is of the service of the petitioner with the state government.
Bali said that FIRs against his client have been lodged by bookies, extortionists etc., against whom he had taken action.
He submitted that his client was broached by the commissioner, whom he handed over the charge, who advised him not to fight against the system and in effect withdraw the letter sent to the Chief Minister making complaints against Deshmukh, as otherwise the consequences could be varied.
Singh had levelled sensational charges of Rs 100 crore extortion against then Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. Bali urged the top court to allow Singh to appear before any officer of the court of the CBI.
On November 18, the Supreme Court had asked Singh's counsel to disclose which part of the world or the country he is in, and without these details, the court would not entertain his plea seeking protection.
The top court had directed Singh's counsel to disclose his location on Monday. Singh had moved the top court seeking protection in FIRs registered against him in Maharashtra.