The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opposed the plea by Maharashtra government challenging the summons issued by the investigating agency to its chief secretary Sitaram Kunte and the present state DGP Sanjay Pande be quashed, saying that the government had no right to file the petition and that it was wholly misconceived and an attempt to interfere with its (CBI's) probe against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The arguments were made by Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi before a division bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal on Monday.
Government counsel Darius Khambata had argued that state had approached the court by invoking its “parens patriae jurisdiction” - a provision of law that allows the next of kin, a legal guardian, or a friend to approach court on behalf of someone who is a minor, disabled, or, not in a position to approach the court.
Lekhi argued that as per law, the police force was institutionalised and was supposed to be free of the executive's control.
He argued, “The question of parens patriae doesn't arise. We are dealing with delinquency in a criminal case and in criminal law, the doctrine of parens patriae cannot be invoked to stall a central agency's investigation. This shows the desperation of the state. In which category do the DGP and chief secretary come- minor, insane, disabled?”
Lekhi further said that in the present case, no fundamental right of the state government was being violated.
He alleged that the state's real intent was to interfere the CBI's probe into the allegations of extortion made against Deshmukh by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
“The police force is not a part of some zamindari system. Therefore, the executive can't lay a claim to be a proprietor of its police force and come to court saying the entire force is being affected carrying the mindset that these are our officers,” argued Lekhi.
ASG also opposed the government’s arguments that the CBI probe was compromised since present CBI chief Subodh Jaiswal was the DGP during Deshmukh's tenure as Maharashtra Home minister. The CBI is probing the case related to corruption in postings and transfers of police officials during Deshmukh’s tenure. Jaiswal himself should be a potential subject of investigation, Khambata had argued.
Lekhi countered this saying: “Jaiswal is a member of the board, the board had meetings, so obviously he attended those. The question though is, whether what has happened was because of his participation in those meetings, or because of the home minister’s conduct? … The involvement of Deshmukh and Deshmukh putting his men out for extortion is under scrutiny.”
HC will hear the matter on Tuesday.