In a major development in the cases of corruption charges against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the Supreme Court will tomorrow hear the petition filed by Deshmukh challenging the Bombay High Court order directing for CBI's preliminary probe against him.
A day after the Bombay High Court ordered a preliminary probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged corruption charges by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, the Maharashtra government and former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh filed separate petitions against the judgment in the Supreme Court.
The state government, in its special leave petition, argued that the Bombay High Court had passed the order on Monday on merits of the petition while the case was listed for hearing on maintainability. The government further noted that there were neither pleadings nor facts before the high court to defend a probe by the CBI.
State government sources said the CBI probe was unwarranted in the absence of an FIR.
Deshmukh, on the other hand, claimed that it was for the first time in the history of the Indian judiciary that corruption charges against a sitting minister were taken at face value. The HC had ordered a preliminary probe by an ‘outside agency’ without seeking a response from him, he said.
The former minister, who will be represented by senior advocate Manu Singhvi, submitted that the order issued by the HC projected that the entire state machinery was not to be trusted. The order also suggested that no probe could have been carried out by a state investigating agency.
Deshmukh’s argument comes at a time when the state government has already set up a one-member panel headed by retired HC judge Kailas Chandiwal to probe the corruption charges made by Singh.
It must be mentioned here that although the high court allowed the CBI to conduct an inquiry, it has ruled that the Central investigating agency need not immediately register an FIR in the case.