Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh was yesterday granted protection from arrest after he informed the Supreme Court, through his lawyer, that he was in India, and had no intentions of absconding. Singh was removed as Mumbai’s police commissioner in March, just days after Sachin Vaze’s arrest in the Antilia bomb scare case. Following his removal, he accused the then state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of using Vaze and other police officers to run an extortion racket.
On Monday, Singh’s lawyer told the Supreme Court that he was in hiding as he faced “threat to his life if he returns to Maharashtra”. Last week, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh told his lawyer, who had moved a petition for protective orders against arrest in an alleged extortion case, that it won't consider his application until his whereabouts are disclosed. “No protection, no hearing until we know where you are,” the bench had said.
His lawyer, who had then sought time till Monday to get instructions, told the court that Singh doesn't want to run away, and that he was ready to present himself before the CBI on a 48-hour notice. “The issue, however, is that there is very genuine threat to his life as soon as he enters Maharashtra,” Singh’s lawyer said.
While granting protection from arrest in any case, the court asked Singh to join the investigation. In its order, it noted that the facts of the case were “very disturbing” and also issued notice to the Maharashtra government on Singh's appeal.
The interim relief to Singh came after his counsel, senior advocate Puneet Bali, said he apprehends threat to his life from the Mumbai Police if he enters Maharashtra. Singh has been missing for the past many weeks and a Mumbai court had last week allowed a plea by the police to declare him a proclaimed offender. Bali on Monday submitted that while his plea before the Bombay High Court prayed for a CBI probe, the high court had asked the petitioner to approach Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
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