After the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a preliminary probe in the sensational allegations levelled by former Mumbai Commissioner of Police, Param Bir Singh, and submit its findings in 15 days, all hell has broken loose in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government. The first one to bite the dust was Home Minister Anil Deshmukh who immediately resigned post the verdict on “moral grounds”. However, to prevent more Deshmukhs tumbling out of the closet of Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, the Maharashtra government has now knocked the doors of the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling of the Bombay High Court and thus prevent the CBI from investigating the allegations made by Param Bir Singh.
In what can be read as the first admission of guilt, the Maharashtra government and Anil Deshmukh have approached the Supreme Court to seek a stay on the Bombay High Court order which mandated a CBI probe into the allegations of extortion, bribes for transfer and interference in investigation into important criminal cases.
The MVA government claims that the Bombay HC order breached the norms of federal structure of governance as it handed over the probe to a central agency which indirectly suggested that the Mumbai Police and a retired justice led high level committee were not competent to investigate the allegations.
The credibility of the Mumbai Police has arguably reached at an all time low and by no means should it investigate the allegations levelled by its former commissioner.
Anil Deshmukh as expected played the victim card. Claiming that he could be stigmatised, the former state Home Minister said, “In the annals of judicial history, there has hardly been an occasion when the court has taken statements made against a sitting minister at face value and proceeded to direct an outside agency, without calling for a response from the minister, to conduct a preliminary inquiry,” said Deshmukh.
The Maharashtra government then resorted to age old tactic of claiming that keeping in mind the current political situation, central agencies have often been misused to de-stabilise non-BJP governments. It also added that the Bombay HC should have made note of the fact that the Maharashtra government had withdrawn consent for a CBI probe into the cases in the state.
The Maharashtra government seems to be hiding some skeletons as if they are fully innocent as claimed by them, they won’t resist a CBI probe as a clean chit would help the government escape the storm.