The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Mumbai Police to carry on the investigation against former police commissioner Param Bir Singh but restrained the police from filing charge sheets against him over the allegations of misconduct and corruption. A bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh also directed the CBI to file its response on the issue whether the probe should be handed over to it. The top court said it was only concerned with the “likelihood of bias”.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said the FIRs should also be entrusted to the central probe agency and he will file an affidavit regarding the same.
Senior advocate Darius Kambatta, appearing for Maharashtra, stated that the Singh's petition was a service dispute against departmental enquiries, which should be contested before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The bench then said, “What are your allegations regarding his service etc, that is for you to take. But this is one of the very unfortunate messages. The only concern that we should have is, whether in regards to other matter whether the CBI should consider the same or not,” it said.
Senior advocate Puneet Bali, appearing for Singh, told the apex court that the Maharashtra government was acting with mala fide against the former police commissioner. “After your lordships' order, I (Singh) have joined the investigation. All non-bailable warrants and proclamations against me have been cancelled. Then they file a charge sheet in one of the FIRs. That is a complaint filed by a person against whom I took action. Then they suspended me. The state of Maharashtra is trying to scuttle your lordships' orders,” Bali said.
The top court court noted the submissions and allowed the Mumbai Police to carry on investigation and restrained it from filing charge sheet. The top court also extended the interim protection granted to Singh till January 1, 2022 when it will hear the matter next.
The state police had earlier told the apex court that Singh cannot be considered as a whistle blower under the law as he chose to speak out against alleged corruption involving former home minister Anil Deshmukh only after his transfer. The top court had granted a major relief to Singh on November 22 by directing the Maharashtra Police not to arrest him in criminal cases lodged against him and had wondered if he was being hounded for filing cases against police officers and extortionists, “what could happen to a common man”.
Seeking dismissal of Singh's plea for a CBI probe into the entire matter and against any coercive action by the state, the Maharashtra government has filed a reply affidavit in the apex court and said that the ongoing probe in criminal cases against the former top cop not be interfered with.
Prior to this, the Bombay high court had dismissed Singh's petition seeking to quash inquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra government, and said he can approach the CAT.
After Singh was shunted out as Mumbai police commissioner in March 2021 in the aftermath of the Antilia bomb scare case, in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, he levelled corruption allegations against Deshmukh. In his petition, Singh had also alleged that DGP Pande told him that the inquiries were the fall-out of his allegations against Deshmukh.