No relief for Deshmukh, Param Bir

November 19, 2021 12:00 am | Updated 06:39 am IST - NEW DELHI

Court heard separate cases involving former Maharashtra Home Minister and Mumbai Police Commissioner

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused relief to both former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in separate cases, noting that “these persons who once occupied top offices” are now facing serious charges.

Mr. Deshmukh is accused of money laundering. He is under investigation by the CBI and ED. Mr. Singh was recently declared an absconder in corruption and extortion cases.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, for Mr. Deshmukh, said the person who filed the complaint against him — Mr. Singh — is himself an absconder.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for CBI, countered that Mr. Deshmukh had himself been “untraceable” to the CBI and ED for a period.

The court refused to entertain Mr. Deshmukh’s plea that the CBI should produce case records, including legal opinions and the preliminary enquiry report.

Mr. Sibal failed to prima facie convince the court that the case against the former Minister was without basis.

“Just because the person has been a Minister, we have to entertain these petitions?” Justice S.K. Kaul said, dismissing Mr. Deshmukh’s plea.

‘Disclose location’

Later in the day, the same Bench took up a petition filed by Mr. Singh and told him that he would have to disclose his location to seek the court’s protection. “Your (Singh) petition has been filed by your power of attorney holder. Where are you? Are you in the country? Outside the country?” Justice Kaul told Mr. Singh’s counsel.

Mr. Singh’s lawyers said they would have to check with the power of attorney holder who filed the petition on behalf of the former Mumbai Police chief.

“You have not joined any investigation and you are seeking protection. Our suspicion may be wrong... but if you are somewhere abroad and waiting for our orders, how can we give it? No protection, no hearing till we have the answer to the question — where are you?” Justice Kaul said firmly.

“If I am allowed to breathe, I can get out of the hole,” the counsel replied, asking for time till Monday.

The court posted Mr. Singh’s case again on November 22.

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