The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a Maharashtra government plea against a CBI probe into Anil Deshmukh, the ex-Home Minister who faces corruption allegations.
The top court underlined its displeasure, saying the state’s filing of the petition made it seem like it is trying to protect Mr Deshmukh. The state should be ready for any probe to ensure “purity in administration”, a two member-bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said.
“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 own cause. Why should the state oppose? State should be ready for any inquiry for purity in administration. This gives the impression Maharashtra is trying to protect the ex-minister,” the Supreme Court said.
This was in response to the Maharashtra government’s lawyer, who had initially wanted adjournment of the case, 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 Chandrachud said.
The Maharashtra government had moved the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court order that allowed the CBI, or Central Bureau of Investigation, to proceed with its inquires against NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, whose party is part of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi in the state.
The petition was filed days after the CBI moved the Bombay High Court to say the Maharashtra government was refusing to share documents needed to advance the investigation.
The Maharashtra government had said that since it planned to approach the Supreme Court, it would not share the requested documents with the CBI, the agency had told the court.
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.
This is not the first time the state has moved the top court against the High Court order authorising the CBI probe; in April the Supreme Court said an independent probe into the corruption allegations surrounding Mr Deshmukh was warranted due to “extremely serious” claims.
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 Rs 100 crores every month from the city’s bars and restaurants.
Mr Deshmukh and his party, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have denied all accusations; they say the charges are an attempt by Mr Singh – transferred to the Home Guards over “unforgivable” lapses in the Ambani bomb scare case – to divert attention from his predicament.
In May NCP chief Sharad Pawar had said: “The timing of these allegations… has to be looked into. Why now? Param Bir Singh has made these allegations after he was transferred.”
With input from PTI