The Bombay High Court on Wednesday slammed the former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, asking him how could an investigation be initiated against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh without an FIR against him. The court also remarked that Param Bir Singh failed in his duty as a cop for not filing an FIR in the case.
The court noted that Param Bir Singh was not “a layman” and added that without an FIR there is no scope of the court to intervene or ask a probe agency to investigate.
Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta told Singh, “You remained silent when you found out that your boss was indulging in a crime. You failed in your duty as a police officer if you did not register an FIR.”
The observation was made by the division bench of the Bombay High Court led by Justice Dipankar Datta. The bench was hearing Singh’s petition seeking direction for an “impartial and fair” CBI probe into the alleged malfeasance by Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
Senior advocate Vikram Nankani, representing Singh, said that his client’s complaint needs to be looked into as it “involves high personalities and comes from a senior IPS officer”.
“In our submission, I do not want to say that this is a case of a whistleblower. These are hard facts that coming from a person who occupied the highest position in the city that this is something that should be looked into and then an independent agency can be appointed,” he said.
“Where is your FIR? How can there be an investigation without an FIR? We are just expressing our mind, our prima facie observation is without an FIR, no investigation can be conducted. And can such a prayer be maintainable in PIL… Show us a judgement where there is no FIR and the investigation was transferred to CBI…The first step in the wheel of justice is investigation. If there is no FIR there is no investigation,” the bench observed.
Chief Justice Dipankar Datta said that an FIR was a must if CBI has to investigate. Datta asked if any citizen, with regard to his (ex-CP’s) complaint, will directly approach the Chief Minister and noted that the department would be approached primarily and not the CM directly. He further asked Param Bir Singh to register an FIR and then approach the judiciary to ask for an agency investigation.
Former Mumbai Commissioner Param Bir Singh had initially moved SC seeking action against his transfer
It is pertinent to note that the former Mumbai police commissioner had initially approached the apex court of the country seeking a CBI probe but later withdrew his plea after the Supreme Court asked him to move the high court. The court observed that there is no doubt that the matter is ‘quite serious’ but the petitioner should first approach the Bombay High Court. Singh had sought quashing of the order transferring him from the post of Mumbai CP, alleging it to be arbitrary and illegal.
In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray earlier this month, Singh alleged that Deshmukh had called police officers to his official residence several times in the last few months and instructed the now-suspended tainted police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crores a month from bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.
Deshmukh, in his defence, rubbished the charges as baseless and called it a conspiracy to vilify the state government.