The Anil Deshmukh extortion case took an unexpected turn on Wednesday, as The Supreme Court finally dismissed the plea filed by the Maharashtra government and declared that it wouldn’t interfere with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against the former State Home Minister of Maharashtra, Anil Deshmukh.
Extensively reported by TFI, back in March, Former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh, in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, had alleged that Mr Deshmukh had indulged in “malpractices” and asked senior police officers to extort ₹ 100 crores every month from the city’s bars, restaurants and other establishments. The revelation has reminded many of the days when ‘haftavasooli’ in the financial capital of the country was the norm, and anyone not paying the same would face grievous consequences.
While hearing the matter, a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah remarked that the purpose of the directions passed by a Constitutional Court will be defeated only if consent under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act comes into play.
The court also emphasized that CBI has to investigate all aspects of the allegations, and it cannot be biased. The bench further added that it will be like denuding the powers of a constitutional court, as reported by Bar and Benches.
Advocate Rahul Chitnis who represents the Maharashtra government submitted that the state has withdrawn consent for the CBI inquiry, and the High Court direction for a probe was limited to allegations of collection of money from bars and restaurants.
“If you talk about consent, it will defeat the direction passed by the constitutional court,” said Justice DY Chandrachud.
Backing this stance, Justice MR Shah further questioned, “When (your) own Home Minister is involved… which government is going to give consent? That is why the High Court ordered the probe… you cannot be permitted to judge your cause. Why should the state oppose? The state should be ready for any inquiry for purity in administration. This gives the impression Maharashtra is trying to protect the ex-minister,”
Both responses were to the Maharashtra government’s lawyer, who was arguing that the state had not consented to the CBI investigation.
“You (the Maharashtra government) should allow a full and fair probe. What is the difficulty? The probe is not against the state… it is against ex-Home Minister,” Justice Chandrachudfurther added.
The Court remarked that there was no reason for it to interfere after the High Court ordered an investigation and the Supreme Court approved it.
The plea was, therefore, dismissed. Meanwhile, the same Bench will continue hearing today the plea by Anil Deshmukh against a Bombay High Court. It is important to note that the petition was filed days after the Maharashtra government refused to share documents needed with the CBI to promote the investigation. But eventually, on Tuesday, the state government told the High Court it is willing to cooperate with the CBI but insisted that the documents sought by the central agency are “not relevant” to the case.
It is obvious that a larger conspiracy is brewing in Maharashtra, or else the state government would neither interfere nor would they resist a CBI probe, as a clean chit would help the government escape the storm. Maharashtra government’s desperate attempts on backing up Anil Deshmukh gives us a hint on the state government’s involvement in the same. Avoiding CBI investigation could only mean one thing, that the government of Maharashtra is scared of its dirty politics from getting exposed