Opposing the state government’s plea seeking quashing of the CBI summons issued to Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte and the present state DGP Sanjay Pandey, the CBI has said that the state is “shamelessly” trying to “frustrate” its ongoing investigation into the allegations of misconduct and corruption against former state minister Anil Deshmukh based on the statement made by former top cop Parambir Singh.
The statement was made by Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi before a division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal on Wednesday.
Lekhi said the state government was bound by law to initiate a probe but chose not to do so, Instead, it approached the HC seeking, amongst other things, that portions of the CBI’s FIR against Deshmukh be expunged.
“An investigation that was the mandate of law did not take place and that’s why the HC had to pass the April 5 order,” said Lekhi, referring to a previous order of the HC that directed the CBI to initiate a preliminary inquiry into the allegations against Deshmukh. Lekhi argued, “Due to its incompetence and its conduct, the state of Maharashtra is not deserving of any relief from this court.”
The government, for its part, had earlier said that the current CBI director Subodh Jaiswal was a potential subject of the ongoing CBI probe as he was the DGP of the relevant period.
Counsel for the government, Darius Khambata, had argued that in 2019-20, when Jaiswal was the DGP, he was a part of the Police Establishment Board and thus, a party to several of the transfers and postings of state police officers that are now being probed by the CBI.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Lekhi pointed out that in August, Jaiswal – in his capacity as the DGP – had written to the state government seeking a CID probe into alleged irregularities in the transfers and postings of state police officers.
“The CBI director, who was then the DGP wrote to the state of Maharashtra seeking a probe. He did what was appropriate and what was expected of an ethical police officer,” said Lekhi adding: “If he were guilty, why would he write this letter?”
The CBI has questioned the government’s standing in filing the petition on behalf of its two officials.
Justifying the move, Khambata said that the CBI probe was affecting the entire state police force, and therefore, the government had the jurisdiction to approach the court.
Khambata said that the state has no intention of delaying or scuttling the probe. “But the CBI is heavily compromised and the citizens of the country deserve a free and fair probe into the case,” he argued.
The HC has kept the matter for hearing on November 22.