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Supreme Court protects Param Bir Singh from arrest

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh leaving National Investigation Agency office after recording his statement in connection with explosive laden SUV found near Mukesh Ambani’s house, in Mumbai, in April   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The Supreme Court on November 22 granted former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh protection from arrest and directed him to join the investigation against him after he said he was “very much in the country” and not fled abroad.

Mr. Singh said he was fighting the might of a “draconian” State and its police, which has hounded him for having the “courage to expose” the alleged doings of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who is facing money laundering charges.

‘Whistle-blower’

Mr. Singh, who is accused of corruption and extortion, portrayed himself as a whistle-blower who “does not want to give the impression that I am afraid of anything”.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, leading a Bench with Justice M.M. Sundaresh, remarked, “The matter has become curiouser and curiouser in the battle between the former Home Minister and the Police Commissioner.”

Senior advocate Puneet Bali, for Mr. Singh, observed that his “client does not want to leave the country”. He was willing to cooperate, except for the imminent threat against him. “What faith will I have in the police now?” he argued.

Justice Kaul remarked, “We find this picture very disturbing... If the former Police Commissioner says he faces threats and has lack of faith in the police, what would be the fate of the common man?”

Mr. Bali submitted that his client had recorded and handed over transcripts of WhatsApp communications with a senior police officer, who advised him to back off or face serious cases that would be mounted against him as a retaliation for complaining against Mr. Deshmukh.

“He said I cannot fight the State... That officer does not deny anything. With this, what expectations can I have from the State? All hell broke loose after I made the complaint,” he said.

Six cases registered

Six cases were registered against Mr. Singh by bookies, extortionists and “people against whom I had taken action against”, he stated.

“If every person I had taken action against, that too, way back in 2015, files cases against me, how will I function as a police officer? How will my colleagues function?” he contended.

Both the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court had found the charges levelled by Mr. Singh against Mr. Deshmukh very serious. The apex court said in April the charges should be probed into by an independent investigative agency, he pointed out.

The court, in its order, directed Mr. Singh to cooperate with the probe against him but said he “shall not be arrested”.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 6:03:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-protects-param-bir-singh-from-arrest/article37622160.ece

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