Mumbai: The Mumbai police told the Bombay High Court on Friday that they will not arrest Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Akbar Pathan in an alleged case of corruption lodged against him and seven others at Marine Drive police station.
Real estate developer Shyamsunder Agarwal lodged an FIR at Marine Drive police station on July 21 against two other builders and six police officers, including Pathan, who were probing Agarwal’s alleged nexus with the underworld. According to Agarwal, Pathan demanded Rs 50 lakh and a 2BHK flat at Bhayander for not invoking Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against him. Agarwal has also named former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh in the FIR.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamdar, on Friday, was hearing a petition filed by Pathan seeking to quash the FIR against him stating that it was registered in gross violation of process of law and to hamper the investigation against the complainant, Shyamsunder Agarwal.
Niteen Pradhan, Pathan’s counsel argued that he was still a DCP and an FIR could not have been registered directly against him. Initially, a preliminary enquiry has to be conducted if any allegations are made against a public servant. “In the absence of preliminary inquiry, an FIR has been registered. This couldn’t have been done,” argued Pradhan.
Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, a preliminary enquiry and thereafter open enquiry is contemplated. If the authorities are satisfied, during the open enquiry, that offence is made out, grant sanction to register an FIR under Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
According to Pathan’s petition, there are 19 criminal cases lodged against Agarwal. The Office of Joint Commissioner of Police Crime sanctioned application of the MCOCA against Agarwal for his alleged links with the underworld. The FIR was lodged at Juhu police station on a complaint by builder Sanjay Punamiya, who has been named as accused by Agarwal in his complaint at Marine Drive police station.
Punamiya and Agarwal were partners and undertook several building construction projects. They had some dispute and separated. Punamiya then filed an FIR against Agarwal in December 2020 alleging that he was being threatened. Agarwal had also filed a counter complaint against Punamiya.
Pathan states that he was aware of the complaint against Agarwal in his supervisory capacity and the probe was being conducted by another police officer. He was informed by the investigating team that Agarwal had not been co-operating with the investigation.
Refuting Agarwal’s claim, Pathan has stated that he has never met Agarwal. “Petitioner is not certain about any meeting specifically with his (Agarwal’s) so-called relatives, for any purpose whatsoever, as during general public visiting hours, several visitors meet the Petitioner as a routine work,” reads the petition.
Both later approached HC seeking quashing of the FIRs saying that they have reached a settlement. In their petitions, HC asked police not to take coercive action against them.
However, pending this, Agarwal went and lodged another FIR at Marine Drive police station against Punamiya, Pathan and other police officers.
Seeking quashing of the FIR, Pathan’s petition states he has an unblemished record of 14 years and the FIR “appears to be filed with an ulterior motive and to take undue advantage and to hamper the investigation in Juhu.”
Terming the FIR by Marine Drive police as malicious, the petition states that “it not only jeopardizes the investigation by the Police Department, however it will also de-moralise the Department for taking up investigation where underworld is involved in the organised crime.”
Following Mumbai police statement, the HC has kept the petition for hearing on August 5.
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