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CBI inquiry found no ‘cognisable offence’ by Anil Deshmukh

File photo of Anil Deshmukh.

File photo of Anil Deshmukh.

A leaked report of a preliminary inquiry conducted by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reveals that the agency had concluded that “no cognizable offence has been committed by Anil Deshmukh, the former Home Minister of Maharashtra”.

The inquiry was conducted by a CBI team following orders by the Bombay High Court on a criminal writ petition filed by Advocate Jayshri Patil who had lodged a complaint with Malabar Hill police station in south Mumbai in wake of the letter written by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. In his letter, Mr. Singh had alleged that Mr. Deshmukh had asked former Mumbai Police API Sachin Vaze to collect ₹100 crore from hotel owners in Mumbai.

However, based on this inquiry report, the CBI filed an FIR against the former minister. Subsequently, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) too initiated a probe against Mr. Deshmukh and has summoned him several times to appear for it. Mr. Deshmukh is however yet to appear before the ED.

The CBI report, which has been leaked to the media and has been seen by The Hindu, has now cast doubts over the ongoing investigation by the central agency. According to sources, despite the investigation officer not finding any cognisable offence committed by Mr. Deshmukh, an FIR was registered. The CBI is yet to react on the leaked report.

According to CBI report, within two days of his reinstatement in July 2020 Mr. Vaze was posted as in charge of Crime Investigation Unit (CIU) by the then Joint CP as per the orders of Parambir Singh. He used to report directly to the police chief, bypassing all channels of hierarchy.

The inquiry report stated that after “the Antilia case, it came to the knowledge of the then HM (Home minister) that most of the important and sensitive cases were assigned to Sachin Vaze on the directions of Parambir Singh. He was accompanied by Parambir Singh to all the important meetings at CM’s residence. There was no personal interaction of the then HM with Sachin Vaze.”

“There is no proof of any meeting of Sachin Vaze with the then HM at his residence apart from official briefings/purposes in the presence of other officers. There was NO proof of any demand by the then HM or his P.S. Sanjeev Palande for collection of money,” the report said. It further noted that, ACP Sanjay Patil and DCP Bhujbal have confirmed in their statements that no such demand for any collection of money was ever made by the then HM directly or through his PS.

The CBI in its reply has said that FIR registered against Mr. Deshmukh is based on evidence collected during PE and the legal opinion.

“A number of media queries have been received regarding a CBI case registered against the then Maharashtra Home Minister and unknown others. Itmay be recalled that the Hon’ble High Court of Judicature at Bombay had ordered the registration of a Preliminary Enquiry(PE) in the said matter based on several PILs filed before the Hon’ble High Court,” it said.

On completion of this PE, CBI added, the competent authority directed registration of a regular case based on evidence collected during PE and the legal opinion. “The FIR registered by CBI on 21.04.2021 has been available on CBI website since 24.04.2021. Investigation in the matter is on-going,” it said.

The agency however did not comment on the leaked report which found no cognisable offence against Mr. Deshmukh.

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Printable version | Aug 20, 2022 11:57:28 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cbi-inquiry-found-no-cognisable-offence-by-anil-deshmukh/article36164150.ece