The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has denied the claims made by Congress that it has given a clean chit to former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. In a statement, the CBI said that on the basis of a preliminary enquiry, FIR against Deshmukh was filed in April, and the probe against him is still underway.
Reacting to several media reports claiming that an ‘internal report’ by the CBI investigation officer said that no evidence was found against Deshmukh, CBI rejected the claims. The agency said in a statement, “A number of media queries have been received regarding a CBI case registered against the then Maharashtra Home Minister and unknown others. It may be recalled that the Mumbai High Court had ordered the registration of a Preliminary Enquiry) in the said matter based on several PILs filed before the court.
On completion of this preliminary enquiry, the competent authority directed registration of a regular case based on evidence collected during the enquiry and the legal opinion. The FIR registered by CBI on 21.04.2021 has been available on CBI website since 24.04.2021. Investigation into the matter is ongoing.”
India Today reported that a copy of the letter and FIR filed by CBI against Anil Deshmukh, they had found that a cognizable offence is made out in the matter. The letter exclusively accessed by Indian Today said, “Preliminary enquiry revealed that a cognizable offence is made out in the matter, wherein the then home minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh and unknown others have attempted to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance for public duty.”
Earlier in the day, several media houses had reported that a ‘leaked report’ of a preliminary inquiry conducted by the agency had revealed that the agency had concluded that “no cognizable offence has been committed by Anil Deshmukh, the former Home Minister of Maharashtra”.
The ‘leaked report’ report was posted by Congress leader Sachin Sawant on Twitter today, claiming that it shows that the case against Anil Deshmukh was a conspiracy by the Modi govt. He had demanded a Supreme Court monitored probe into this ‘conspiracy’.
The so-called preliminary report said that the enquiry has revealed that no cognizable offence has been committed by Anil Deshmukh, and therefore, it had recommended closing the preliminary enquiry.
The alleged preliminary report posted by Sawant was purportedly prepared by CBI officer R S Gunjiyal. However, there are some problems with this ‘report’, as it is not signed by the officer. Moreover, the name of the officer was mentioned as R S Gunjyal, while the correct spelling of the name of the investigating officer in the case is R S Gunjiyal.
Now the CBI has denied recommending the closure of the investigation, which raises doubt on the ‘leaked report’ published and circulated by the Congress party.
It is noteworthy that the Congress party had sent this ‘leaked CBI report’ to several media houses, non-NDA chief ministers, politicians, journalists and select judges of Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court. Mumbai BJP posted the list of the entities to whom this report was forwarded, which showed it was sent to 28 entities or persons by Sachin Sawant or someone else from the Congress party.
While sending such a ‘leaked report’ to media houses and journalists is not unusual, the inclusion of Maharashtra, West Bengal and Punjab chief ministers, and Bombay High Court chief justice Dipankar Datta, justice S S Shinde of the same HC, and justice DY Chandrachud of the Supreme Court has raised eyebrows.
Any relevant document or report by CBI will anyway be submitted to the relevant courts, but the fact that the Congress party chose to sent the so called ‘leaked report’ to three select judges have raised many uncomfortable questions.