Anil Deshmukh
Anil Deshmukh
File Photo

Former home minister Anil Deshmukh, on Wednesday, told the Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nizamoodin Jamadar that he has been 'declared a devil but without proper material.' The senior NCP leader Deshmukh has petitioned the bench seeking to quash the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against him pursuant to the April 5 orders of the high court bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta. Deshmukh is facing CBI probe for corruption allegations of over Rs 100 crore levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

Senior counsel Amit Desai arguing for Deshmukh said there wasn't sufficient material to prosecute him as till date no victim has come forward complaining against his alleged illegal activities.

"The letter written by Singh can at the most be some suspicion or rumour heard in the Commissioner office corridor," Desai argued, adding, that CJ Datta had ordered only a preliminary enquiry "because the letter was not sufficient to register an FIR."

"The preliminary enquiry concept was brought in, as it was easiest to accuse a public servant. Deshmukh has been shamed, declared a devil. But is it with proper material? No, because there isn't sufficient material," the senior counsel argued.

One of the allegations, Desai pointed out, against his client is of interfering with the transfers and postings of policemen. "But has a single police officer come forward? The Constitution of India mentions police in part 2 of it's list because every state has its own policy for transfer and postings," Desai said, adding, "But when they are making a sweeping statement that transfer and posting has to be looked into, by a central agency, they are speaking of a policy as every state has a police establishment board which has a hierarchy and deals with this aspect."

Desai further pointed out that the board makes its recommendations for transfers and postings of cops and a final decision has to be taken either by the Chief Minister or Home Minister, as the case be. "To interfere with this, is interfering in the federal state administration," Desai argued.

Desai further argued that the FIR only mentions his client's name and has 'unknown persons' as other accused. "Isn't the CBI unaware who are the police personnel on this establishment board? Why has it named them as unknown?" Desai argued, adding, "There is a heartburn within the police establishment."

The senior counsel further pointed out that the decision of the HC will have direct ramifications on the federal structure of the states and also the interference of the central agencies in matters of states.

"CBI should have had obtained a consent of the state government under section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishments (DSPE) act. The agency shouldn't have had proceeded without obtaining the consent of the state especially when the general consent has been withdrawn," Desai argued while emphasising on the fact that the central agency must have applied for the consent just like it does in other matters.

At this, Justice Shinde pointed out the submissions of the state government through senior counsel Rafique Dada, who specifically stated that the state isn't concerned with Deshmukh since he is no longer a minister. "What does this mean Mr Desai?" Justice Shinde sought to know. But Desai responded saying the state hasn't consented yet.

Further, Desai pointed out that in several cases the HC usually transfers probes from one department to another. "In fact, now my client is no more a minister and has no influence over the probe if conducted by the state force," he argued.

The matter would be heard next on July 2.

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