Mumbai: Observing that “hearsay evidence” does not disclose commission of any cognizable offence, the Bombay High Court recently dismissed a petition seeking an investigation into the alleged role of former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh in the 2021 Antilia bomb scare case and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
A bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Kamal Khata, on March 23, observed: “The averments made in the petition are hearsay in nature. They do not disclose commission of any cognizable offence nor do they show that there is any reasonable probability of commission of cognizable offence at the hands of the former CP.”Mumbai: Dismissed cop Riyazuddin Kazi granted bail in Antilia bomb scare case
The bench said that unless and until such material is available on record, “it cannot be said that any more investigation by police is warranted and that a person seeking such investigation in the crime has locus in the matter”.
Plea filed by alleged social activist dismissed
The HC dismissed the petition filed by one Parshuram Rambhilakh Sharma who claimed to be a social activist, saying that he knew about the alleged “darker side of the whole case”, which gave rise to the possibility of Singh having been involved in it.
Advocates for NIA said petitioner has no locus standi
Advocates Sandesh Patil and Chintan Shah, appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case, argued the petitioner had no locus standi (legal standing) to file a writ plea instead of a PIL. Also, the petition was based on “hearsay evidence gathered from news reports”.
Petitioner's advocates argued he had collected information on his involvement; relied on HC observation in Pradeep Sharma case
The petitioner’s advocates, NS Ghanekar and Kuldip S Kahalekar, argued that while the initial source of information was news reports, later on he had gathered more information that indicated the involvement of Singh in the case. Sharma relied on the observations in a high court verdict of January this year wherein it refused bail to former police officer Pradeep Sharma in the Antilia terror scare case.
The HC bench headed by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, in Pradeep Sharma’s case, had noted on January 23: “Why such a huge payment was made to the said witness i.e. cyber expert, what was the interest of the CP, is a grey area, for which there are no answers.”
Justice Shukre-led bench said petitioner would have to show circumstances converting suspicion into 'resonable probability'
In light of this, the Justice Shukre-led bench observed, “These observations, except for expressing suspicion about objectivity and integrity of the investigation made by the police on a particular aspect of the case… do not go any further. In fact, the division bench has only asked a question as to why a huge payment was made to Sinha, and further question was asked as to what was the interest of the commissioner of police.”
The judges emphasised that if Sharma sought to raise the issue of the possibility of the former CP being involved in the case, he would have to show more circumstances converting his suspicion into “reasonable probability”.
“Criminal law can be set into motion only after the complaint made to police discloses commission of cognizable offence… All these aspects necessary for the initiation of an investigation into a cognizable crime are absent in this case. In view of the above, we find no substance in the petition,” averred the bench while dismissing the petition.
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