Singh had alleged that the probes were initiated to scuttle the CBI investigation ordered by the HC on April 5 following his allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.
The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh seeking quashing of two preliminary inquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra government.
The HC, while rejecting the plea as “not tenable before it as court of first instance”, observed that reliefs claimed by Singh can be adjudicated by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), as “proper remedy” lies before it.
It added that Singh is at liberty to approach the “appropriate forum”, and the same should decide the plea as per law and “uninfluenced” by observations made by the HC.
A division Bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar had on July 28 reserved verdict on the issue of maintainability of Singh’s plea challenging the two preliminary inquiries initiated against him in connection with the Ambani terror scare case and allegations of corruption made by Inspector Anup Dange.
On April 1, the government had initiated a preliminary probe against Singh under the All India Services (Conduct) Rules in connection with the Ambani case. On April 20, it had started an inquiry against Singh following claims made by Dange.
Singh has alleged that the two probes were initiated to scuttle the CBI investigation ordered by the HC on April 5 against former state home minister
Anil Deshmukh, following his allegations of corruption.
Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Singh, on Thursday said that both the probes were initiated hastily and without application of mind and with “malice and malafide”. He added that the probes were initiated out of “confusion and vendetta” and instead of investigating Singh’s complaint against Deshmukh, the state tried to “shoot the messenger”.
He further said that this was not a “mere administrative inquiry” but also dealt with the criminal aspect of the case and the same was arbitrary and against the law.
However, questioning the maintainability of the petition, the Maharashtra government said that Singh’s contentions pertaining to the inquiries are service matters and come under the purview of the All India Service Rules, which are dealt by CAT.
Senior counsel Darius Khambata, representing the state government, opposed Singh’s contention that the government action was a form of vendetta.
Jethmalani said the government, with the help of DGP Sanjay Pandey, was trying to convince Singh to withdraw the letter (written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray accusing Deshmukh of corruption). “When persuasion (by Pandey) failed, the false cases followed,” he added. Khambata had earlier told the court that as the DGP had recused himself from the probes and other officers would conduct the investigations now, Singh’s plea should be rendered infructuous and non-maintainable. Senior counsel Navroz Seervai, representing the DGP, had said that the plea was not maintainable and allegations against his client were false.
Justice Jamadar, who had authored the ruling for the bench, noted that particular grievances made by Singh can only be termed as “barnacles attached to the hull of controversy”.
The HC said that the challenge of entrusting the inquiries to officers allegedly junior in rank to Singh can be raised before the CAT. It also observed that Singh’s claim that the state action was initiated as “counter-blast” to the outcome of his petitions in HC against Deshmukh “prima facie does not hold ground”, as Dange had written to the state home department with his allegations in February, much before Singh wrote to the CM on March 20 regarding Deshmukh.
It added that since the allegations of “malice” are “rooted in facts”, they require adjudication by a competent tribunal.
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