Even as the Maharashtra government contended that of the recommendation of 400 plus transfers and postings of police officers during tenure of former home minister Anil Deshmukh, there were modifications in barely 33 cases, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned interferences in these cases too.
Senior counsel Darius Khambata, appearing for state government, told the Bombay high court on Friday that there were modifications in barely 7.6 per cent of the cases recommended for transfer and postings of police during the relevant period.
Additional solicitor general Aman Lekhi, appearing for the CBI, said: “We are not dealing with transfer and postings in general. The investigation is concerned with interference done by Anil Deshmukh. It’s not a question of percentage, it’s a question of interference. Why should there be this 7 per cent (interference in transfers) also? Deshmukh is the subject (of investigation), it is the mandate of the court,” argued Lekhi.
A division bench of justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal was hearing the petition filed by state government challenging summons issued by the CBI to chief secretary Sitaram Kunte and Director General of Police Sanjay Pandey in its probe against corruption in police transfers and postings during Deshmukh’s tenure.
Khambata said: “The court asked (the CBI) in how many cases had home minister overridden the order? He (CBI counsel) didn’t have an answer. I am giving you answers to that. Please use it for your (CBI) investigation. Total recommendations for transfers was 434 odd, of which modifications to transfers and postings were made by the competent authority in 33 cases. That’s 7.6 per cent.”
He further said that the state's current DGP Sanjay Pandey had nothing to do with Deshmukh's case and had been summoned as a harassment tactic by the investigating agency.
“Pandey took charge as state DGP only in April 2021 and has no connection to the allegations. Besides, he is an upright officer, who has spent most of his life fighting the government over issues such as favouritism and his repeated transfers,” said Khambata.
Khambata urged HC to transfer the probe to a special investigation team and to appoint a retired judge to monitor the probe.
The HC has reserved the order in state’s petition and permitted all parties to submit their written arguments by November 29. The HC also took on record, a document pertaining to the CBI's probe that the agency submitted in a sealed cover.