Supreme Court finds former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh’s distrust of very force he once led ‘disturbing’

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh leaves from the National Investigation Agency office, in Mumbai. File

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh leaves from the National Investigation Agency office, in Mumbai. File

The Supreme Court on Tuesday found former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s abiding distrust of the very police he once led “disturbing”.

Mr. Singh wants the FIRs of extortion and corruption registered against him by the police to be transferred to the CBI.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul, the former police chief portrayed himself as a whistle-blower who plucked up the courage to face a “draconian” State and its police which have hounded him for exposing the alleged wrongdoings of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, facing money laundering charges.

CBI’s claim

As if to buttress Mr. Singh’s negativity about the Maharashtra State apparatus, the CBI, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, said several stumbling blocks had been laid out in its way in the probe against Mr. Deshmukh.

The apex court had protected Mr. Singh from arrest in November, provided he co-operated with the investigation against him. On Tuesday, the court extended the protection.

The court finally adjourned the case.

In early December 2021, the apex court had indicated its prima facie view that the CBI, and not the Maharashtra police, ought to probe the allegations of corruption and misconduct against Mr. Singh.

The court had not stopped the Maharashtra police from continuing with their probe into Mr. Singh, but had restrained them from filing charge sheets against the former top police official.

The apex court had said the primary question that needed to be answered was that of bias raised by Mr. Singh against the State police.

The Bench was hearing an appeal filed by Mr. Singh against a Bombay High Court order dismissing his plea challenging the enquiry ordered against him for corruption and allegedly violating service rules.

Senior advocate Darius Kambatta, for Maharashtra, had said the cases should remain with the Maharashtra police. The issues raised by Mr. Singh concerned departmental enquiries which should be resolved in the Central Administrative Tribunal. The High Court had dismissed the case for the reason that the Tribunal had “exclusive jurisdiction” over it. The State argued that Mr. Singh is being wrongly portrayed as a “whistle-blower”, he wrote the letter against then Maharashtra Home Minister Mr. Anil Deshmukh and leaked it to the media when he sensed the tide was turning against him.

Mr. Kambatta also pointed out that the current CBI Director S.K. Jaiswal was the Director General of Police, Maharashtra at the time of the contentious transfers and postings under question.

Senior advocate Puneet Bali, for Mr. Singh, said all he wanted was a fair, quick and independent enquiry.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 1:45:53 pm |