Terming the legal clash between former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh as "battle royale", the Supreme Court on Thursday, 24 March, ordered a CBI probe into all cases lodged against Singh by the Maharashtra Police.
Emphasising that an impartial probe into the matter is required, it clarified that it is not revoking Singh's suspension, and also, if there were any FIRs registered against Singh in future, then these will also be transferred to the CBI.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh said the CBI must hold an impartial probe in all the aspects of the matter and examine whether the allegations in the FIRs have any truth or not.
Decision Not a Reflection on Maharashtra Police: SC
It directed the Maharashtra Police to hand over the cases, which includes 5 FIRs and two PEs, to the CBI within a week and render all assistance to the central agency in its probe into the cases against Singh.
"We are not saying the appellant is a whistle-blower or anyone involved in this case is washed with milk," it noted.
The bench also stressed that the objective is to embolden and gain people's confidence into the police and this is not a reflection on Maharashtra Police.
"The troubling situation arising at the higher echelons has been presented before us," said the bench.
Senior advocate Darius Khambata, representing the Maharashtra government, vehemently argued that cases should not be transferred to the CBI, as it will be very demoralising for the state police.
During the hearing, the bench observed, "The murky churning from battle royale between then Home Minister and the then Police Commissioner has given rise to these unfortunate proceedings on which we have commented before."
Senior advocate Puneet Bali, representing Singh, submitted that CBI should probe all the cases registered against his client, and not the state police on which he does not have faith, even though he headed the same.
The bench was hearing a plea by Singh against the Bombay High Court judgment passed in September last year, dismissing his plea challenging the two inquiries ordered by the Home Ministry for allegedly violating service rules and corruption charges, as non-maintainable.