The Maharashtra government on Monday told the Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nitin Borkar that it wouldn't arrest Parambir Singh, former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, in the alleged SC-ST case lodged against him by a Thane-based police officer, till June 9. The bench also pulled up Singh for making a "false" statement before the Supreme Court that the HC isn't hearing his pleas.
The bench would hear the final arguments in the matter on June 9.
On Monday, when the matter was called out, senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani appeared for Parambir Singh seeking an adjournment on the ground that one bench alone should hear cases pertaining to his client Singh along with the petition filed by IPS Rashmi Shukla and also the plea filed by the state government against the CBI seeking to quash certain parts of it's FIR lodged against former home minister Anil Deshmukh. He said all the three matters are connected and thus must be heard together.
Meanwhile, senior counsel Darius Khambatta for the state pointed out that the three matters were connected at all.
To buttress his case, Jethmalani told the judges that his client was being targeted by filing multiple cases only because of the letter he wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray highlighting the corrupt practices of the then home minister.
"The plea is about continuous harassment meted out to my client.. it is a continuous case of vendetta... Ever since he wrote the letter (to CM) the state government is embarrassed... My client being subjected to harassment," Jethmalani submitted.
The senior counsel further said that the present FIR is lodged by one Bhimrao Ghadge, a police officer from Thane police, regarding incidents that allegedly occurred in 2015-16. The FIR is filed now in 2021 only because of that letter.
At this, Khambatta argued, "Just because he has written a letter to the CM doesn't make him immune from such a serious offence. This FIR has nothing to do with the letter it is under SC-ST Act and about atrocities."
Meanwhile, advocate Satish Talekar for Ghadge pointed out that Singh has indulged in to "forum shopping" as he has already moved the Supreme Court despite a pending plea in the HC.
"He cannot seek same relief before the SC since his petition seeking exact reliefs in this matter are pending before this court. Thus, his interim relief of no arrest must be cancelled," Talekar submitted.
At this Khambatta pointed out that in his plea before the SC, Singh has claimed that the HC isn't hearing his petitions and thus he has moved the top court.
Irked over this statement, Justice Borkar pulled up Singh. "Your (Singh) present petition came up before a bench which I was a part of. The state made a statement that it won't arrest you till the next date, we accepted that statement and granted you relief. Then how can you accuse us?" Justice Borkar said.
"How can you make such a statement before the top court that we aren't hearing your matters despite the fact that we have given you relief?" the judge added.
To this, Jethmalani apologized and assured the bench that the statement made before the top court would be withdrawn.
Further, Justice Shinde pointed out that the matter needs to be heard fully and before a regular bench as the present bench he presided was a vacation one assembled for this week alone and wouldn't be available for next week.
"We believe that since the FIR has been filed after a delay of four to five years, the matter can wait for a few more weeks to be heard," Justice Shinde observed.
The bench while noting the statement made by Khambatta that the state won't take any coercive action against Singh in the present FIR till June 9, adjourned the hearing.