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FPJ Legal: Maharashtra govt’s plea challenging summons to chief secy, DGP a 'surrogate', 'real actor' is Anil Deshmukh, CBI tells Bombay HC

08:56 PM Nov 23, 2021 | Urvi Mahajani

The litigation between the Maharashtra government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) involving former home minister Anil Deshmukh got murkier with the central agency claiming that the state’s plea before the Bombay High Court was a “surrogate” one and the “real actor” behind the petition was Deshmukh, who is currently being probed for alleged corruption and extortion.

The claim was made by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi before a division bench of justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal on Tuesday which is hearing petition filed by state government challenging summons issued by CBI to chief secretary Sitaram Kunte and DGP Sanjay Pandey for questioning related to the Deshmukh.

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The CBI has claimed that the petition was an attempt to scuttle and derail its probe.

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The CBI has said that it has collected evidence which shows that during Deshmukh’s tenure as home minister, several recommendations made by the Maharashtra Police Establishment Board on postings and transfers of police officers were over-ridden. Lekhi said: “We have collected evidence to show that several recommendations of the police establishment board weren't approved, decisions were changed, and several postings and transfers were made without the involvement of the Board.”

He further added: “This whole episode converges around the role of Deshmukh. Deshmukh has come to court seeking relief and failed. So now, the state has come on his behalf. This is a surrogate petition and the real actor is Anil Deshmukh.”

The government had claimed that CBI summons to Pandey was harassment tactic as he (Pandey) was in no way connected with the issue.

Lekhi said that the central agency had summoned the DGP since he was the senior most police officer of the state. The CBI wants to question Pandey regarding his interaction with former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, who had made the allegations of misconduct and corruption against Deshmukh. Also, the central agency needs to “deal with some transcripts” related to the case, added Lekhi.

Following an April 5 order of the HC, the CBI conducted a preliminary enquiry and filed an FIR against Deshmukh and others on April 21. The central agency summoned Kunte and Pandey in connection with the probe in this FIR.

The Maharashtra government however, approached HC challenging the summons.

The HC will hear further arguments on November 24.

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