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SC restrains Maharashtra police from filing charge sheet against Praram Bir Singh

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New Delhi | December 6, 2021 6:50:57 PM IST
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra police not to file charge sheets in the FIRs lodged against the former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and has also sought CBI's view on taking over the investigation.

A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul has although allowed Maharashtra police to continue its probe and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file an affidavit within one week stating its stand on taking up the investigation in the FIRs registered by Maharashtra Police against Singh.

Cases were registered against Singh over allegations of misconduct, corruption and extortion and the apex court sought CBI's view on probing the cases as they are interlinked with the matters already under the investigation of the central agency.

The apex court also ordered that interim protection granted to Singh from arrest shall continue and posted the matter for hearing on January 11.

"Since petitioner (Singh) has joined the investigation, let probe continue but no challan be issued," the Bench said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for CBI told the top court that it has no problem in taking over the probe of criminal cases filed against Singh by Maharashtra police and contended that those cases should be transferred to the central agency.

The apex court was hearing a petition of Singh filed against the September 16 judgment of the Bombay High Court which was dismissed as not maintainable. His pleas challenged the two inquiry orders issued by the State Home Ministry for allegedly violative service rules and the second over allegations of corruption.

During the hearing, advocate Puneet Bali appearing for Singh, told the apex court that Singh wants an independent inquiry into his cases.

"Kindly look at the tearing hurry. Once cognisance has been taken by the Court as to whether the FIRs should be transferred to CBI, is it fair that they file challans?" asked the advocate.

He further contended that police was acting with "mala-fides" against Singh and after the top court passed the interim order of protection in favour of Singh, the state government suspended him from service and filed a charge sheet against him in one of the FIRs.

The advocate of the state government further told the Bench that Singh cannot be considered as a "whistleblower" under the law as he chose to speak out against alleged corruption involving former home minister Anil Deshmukh only after his transfer.

Senior advocate Darius Kambatta, appearing for the Maharashtra government, contended that Singh's petition is not maintainable as it was a service dispute against departmental inquiries, which should be contested before the Central Administrative Tribunal.

Justice Kaul told Kambatta, "Prima facie we find this difficult to accept. Let's not go into the niceties, but since the matter has been assigned already to CBI, why can't this be also entrusted with them?"

Earlier, Singh's counsel told the Bench that he is very much in the country and he is not absconding, thereafter the top court granted him interim protection from arrest and directed him to join the investigation.

The apex court had also expressed concern over the ongoing fight between former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Param Bir Singh saying that the matter has become "curiouser and curiouser".

Singh's counsel had told the apex court that six cases of corruption and extortion were filed against Singh after he wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray levelling corruption and misconduct against the then Home Minister and senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.

Singh, a 1988-batch IPS officer, was removed from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner on March 17 and was made the General Commander of Maharashtra State Home Guard after he levelled allegations against Deshmukh.

On November 18, the Bench had asked Singh to disclose his whereabouts while making it clear that no protection can be granted to him against arrest until his location is known.

Singh was declared as an absconder by a Mumbai Magistrate after his non-appearance in an extortion case. (ANI)

 
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