Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nizamoodin Jamadar on Monday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the "unknown accused" named in its FIR pertaining to the alleged Rs 100 crore corruption case. The HC has further ordered the central agency to place on record the status of the probe against former state home minister and senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.
The judges were hearing a plea filed by Deshmukh challenging the FIR through senior advocate Amit Desai. Desai submitted that the agency has breached the due process and hasn't obtained the mandatory 'consent' of the state government under section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
"In the FIR suddenly we can find the word extortion which was nowhere even in the preliminary enquiry or other documents pertaining to the case. The agency has not followed the due process," Desai submitted. "The ramifications of allowing a central agency to just walk in (the state) and probe, will be grave," he emphasised.
At this, the judges noted that the CBI FIR only names Deshmukh and "two unknown persons." "Now the name of the petitioner (Deshmukh) is mentioned and then there are unknown others. We have seen that in theft cases normally but who are the unknown accused here?" the bench said, adding, "We ask so because you (CBI) have conducted a detailed enquiry before filing an FIR so by then you should be aware of the names."
It noted that the bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, in its April 5 order directing the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry, had used the words "to instill public confidence in the administration."
"Therefore, we think these words aren't just limited to Deshmukh but to all those who are involved in the allegations levelled in the FIR," Justice Shinde said. "The present FIR is registered long back what is the further investigation of the CBI? You (CBI) can give us the status of the probe in a sealed envelope, we will read it and give it back to you," the bench added.
The bench will continue hearing the arguments.