MUMBAI: Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh filed a petition in the Bombay High Court on Thursday, challenging two preliminary enquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra government.
In his petition, Singh claimed he was being targeted and harassed for highlighting the alleged "corrupt malpractices" of former state home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.
Singh in his plea also claimed that during his meeting with state Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey on April 19, the latter "advised him" to withdraw his letter against Deshmukh which he had sent to the state government.
Singh, who was in March this year shifted from the post of Mumbai police commissioner to the Home Guards department, had in a letter to the government alleged corruption and misuse of official position by Deshmukh.
Last month, he also filed a public interest litigation in the HC, seeking a CBI inquiry against Deshmukh.
On April 5, the HC directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out a preliminary enquiry into the allegations levelled by Singh against Deshmukh, following which the latter resigned as home minister.
The CBI, after completing its enquiry, had registered an FIR against Deshmukh.
Singh's petition was mentioned before a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale which directed the state government to respond to the allegations levelled by him in his plea, and posted the matter for further hearing on May 4.
Singh's counsel Mukul Rohatgi said the petition has challenged the two orders passed by the Maharashtra government on April 1 and April 20 directing DGP Sanjay Pandey to conduct preliminary enquiries against him.
"The first order (April 1) was passed by the erstwhile home minister Anil Deshmukh for alleged violation of some All India Services (Conduct Rules) and the second order of April 20 was passed by the present home minister (Dilip Walse Patil) over allegations of corruption levelled against Singh," Rohatgi said.
He said on April 19, Singh had a meeting with Pandey during which the DGP allegedly advised Singh to withdraw his letter sent to the Maharashtra government in March, in which he had levelled alleged corruption and misuse of official position by Deshmukh.
"Pandey told Singh in the meeting that he cannot fight the system like this and that the government was now considering to initiate multiple criminal cases against him (Singh).
Pandey advised Singh to withdraw the letter he sent to the government," Rohatgi said.
Pandey told Singh that if the letter is withdrawn, then the CBI's case against Deshmukh would not stand, Rohatgi said, alleging that the state government was creating fictious complaints against Singh.
He also said Singh had recorded his conversation with Pandey and has sent a copy of the same to the CBI.
Rohatgi said the orders passed by the government initiating preliminary enquiry against Singh were "manifestly arbitrary, wholly illegal, null and void".
Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare sought time to respond to the allegations.
Rohatgi then said time could be given to the government, but an interim protection should be given to Singh and the enquiries should be stayed until then.
The court then asked if any show cause notice was issued to Singh with regard to any of the enquiry.
Rohatgi replied in the negative.
"If no show cause notice has been issued to Singh till date, then what is the urgency.
what is the tearing need for us to pass any interim orders?" the court asked.
"It is an enquiry for violation of some service rules.
At the most, it is a service matter.
Let the government respond to the allegations levelled in the petition," the high court said.
Singh in his petition said the orders passed by the state government initiating preliminary enquiry were aimed at thwarting the investigation of the CBI.
"The impugned orders are aimed at silencing the petitioner (Singh) and to compel and pressurise him to withdraw his allegations against Deshmukh," the petition said.
Rohatgi pointed out to the court a case registered against Singh on Wednesday in Akola district and said he was challenging that also.
The Akola police filed an FIR against Singh after a police inspector levelled corruption charges against him.
The bench said Singh would have to challenge the Akola case before the HC's Nagpur bench, as it has the jurisdiction to hear matters arising out of Akola district.
Singh in his petition has sought a direction to the CBI to conduct an unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair investigation against Deshmukh.
He has also sought an order directing the Maharashtra government to ensure that transfer/posting of police officials are not done for any pecuniary benefits to any politician.
It also sought a direction to the CBI or any other independent agency to forthwith take custody of the CCTV footage of Deshmukh's residence to prevent its "destruction".