Maharashtra police have filed an FIR against former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh after a police inspector levelled corruption charges against him, a senior official said on Thursday. The FIR was registered at Akola in Vidarbha region against 33 persons, including 28 policemen, an official said.
Singh also filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, challenging two preliminary enquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra government. In his petition, Singh claimed he was being targeted and harassed for highlighting the alleged “corrupt malpractices" of former state home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.
The city Kotwali police in Akola registered the FIR against Singh under various sections ranging from criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989. Those named in the FIR include DCPs Parag Manere, Sanjay Shinde and Sunil Bharadwaj, ACPs Vijay Pulkar and D B Kamble and senior PI Dilip Suryavanshi. A former law officer and assistant chemical analyser of Forensic Science Lab have also been named, the official said.
Akola police filed a Zero FIR (mode of lodging FIR in any police station irrespective of the offence committed in that area or any other area) at the Kotwali police station and it has been transferred to the Thane city police, said the official. Police inspector Bhimrao Ghadge in his complaint had made a series of allegations of corruption against Singh and other officers, in the period when the former Mumbai CP was posted with the Thane police.
Ghadge who was posted in Thane police commissionerate during 2015-2018 has alleged that during his tenure, several officers there under Singh had indulged in various acts of corruption. He also claimed that Singh had asked him to not charge-sheet certain individuals against whom FIRs had been registered. Ghadge, who is now posted in the Akola police control room, had also alleged that after he refused to obey Singh's instructions, five FIRs were registered against him and he was suspended.
Meanwhile, Singh in his plea, has also claimed that during his meeting with state Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey on April 19, the latter “advised him" to withdraw his letter against Deshmukh which he had sent to the state government. Singh, who was in March this year shifted from the post of Mumbai police commissioner to the Home Guards department, had in a letter to the government alleged corruption and misuse of official position by Deshmukh.
Last month, he also filed a public interest litigation in the HC, seeking a CBI inquiry against Deshmukh. On April 5, the HC directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out a preliminary enquiry into the allegations levelled by Singh against Deshmukh, following which the latter resigned as home minister.
The CBI, after completing its inquiry, had registered an FIR against Deshmukh. Singh’s petition was mentioned before a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale which directed the state government to respond to the allegations levelled by him in his plea, and posted the matter for further hearing on May 4.
Singh’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi said the petition has challenged the two orders passed by the Maharashtra government on April 1 and April 20 directing Pandey to conduct preliminary inquiries against him. “The first order (April 1) was passed by the erstwhile home minister Anil Deshmukh for alleged violation of some All India Services (Conduct Rules) and the second order of April 20 was passed by the present home minister (Dilip Walse Patil) over allegations of corruption levelled against Singh," Rohatgi said.
Rohatgi said the orders passed by the government initiating preliminary enquiry against Singh were “manifestly arbitrary, wholly illegal, null and void". Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare sought time to respond to the allegations. Rohatgi then said time could be given to the government, but an interim protection should be given to Singh and the inquiries should be stayed until then. The court then asked if any show cause notice was issued to Singh with regard to any of the inquiry.
Rohatgi replied in the negative. “If no show cause notice has been issued to Singh till date, then what is the urgency…what is the tearing need for us to pass any interim orders?" the court asked.
Singh in his petition said the orders passed by the state government initiating preliminary enquiry were aimed at thwarting the investigation of the CBI. Rohatgi pointed out to the court the case registered against Singh on Wednesday in Akola district and said he was challenging that also.
The bench said Singh would have to challenge the Akola case before the HC’s Nagpur bench, as it has the jurisdiction to hear matters arising out of Akola district. Singh in his petition has sought a direction to the CBI to conduct an unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair investigation against Deshmukh.
He has also sought an order directing the Maharashtra government to ensure that transfer/posting of police officials are not done for any pecuniary benefits to any politician. It also sought a direction to the CBI or any other independent agency to forthwith take custody of the CCTV footage of Deshmukh’s residence to prevent its “destruction".