The Bombay High Court dismissed a petition filed by former police commissioner Param Bir Singh on Thursday seeking to quash his plea on two inquiries ordered against him by the Maharashtra government. The bench held that the petition was untenable and advised him to approach an appropriate forum.
A bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nijamoodin Jamadar had received a plea by Singh, challenging an inquiry which stated that it was nothing but a counterblast of his complaint letter against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.
However, the state argued that Singh shouldn’t claim immunity in all cases against him just because he has written the letter and claims to be a “whistleblower”.
“One of the inquiries pertaining to the complaint filed by inspector Anoop Dange alleges corruption against Singh. This is being inquired by the DGP and anti-corruption bureau,” said senior counsel Darius Khambatta, representing the state.
He added that the second inquiry pertains to Singh’s misconduct that is being enquired into by the additional chief secretary (planning).
“The grievances raised in this petition are covered under the All India Service Conduct Rules, 1968, as this is purely a service matter. The appropriate forum to agitate for him is the Central Administrative Tribunal,” said Khambatta.
Opposing this, Singh’s counsel Mahesh Jethmalani claimed that the inquiry was just a vendetta.
“This is nothing but a counterblast to my complaint against the then home minister. The state is trying to shoot the messenger and terrorise the whistleblower,” Jethmalani said, adding, “The state is trying to suppress a big crime and thus this inquiry against him is only to thwart the probe ordered against Deshmukh.”
At these contentions, the bench said, "This claim of Singh, prima facie does not hold ground in respect of the fact that the action initiated against him is on the basis of the complaint of Anup Dange, who had made complaint against him on February 2, 2021, which is much before the controversy arose over the explosives scare."
"Evidently, the impugned order of April 21 (enquiry order) stems from incidents which predate the letter written by Singh on March 20, 2021," the bench added.
The bench noted that all the contentions of Singh alleging malice and vendetta on part of the state, could be agitated before the Central Administrative Tribunal as it has all the requisite powers to deal with the issues involved in this particular case. Further, Jethmalani pointed out at the transcripts of the meeting between Singh and DGP Sanjay Pandey, wherein the latter allegedly advised him to withdraw his complaint letter against Deshmukh.
“It can be seen that Pandey assured my client that if he withdraws the complaint, he would help him to get out of these enquiries in bogus cases. He infact told him that if he won't take back all the allegations against Deshmukh, then my client would be booked in multiple bogus cases,” Jethmalani said.
Meanwhile, senior counsel Navroze Seervai for DGP Pandey had refuted the allegations.
, adding, “And when I wasn't convinced by the DGP the state followed with its plan B to file bogus cases and threaten my client so that he withdraws the complaint letter.”
Meanwhile, senior counsel Navroze Seervai for DGP Pandey had refuted the allegations. “This is just an attempt by a man trying to trap my client, who is an outstanding officer,” the senior counsel argued.