FIR against Maha top cop under SC/ST Act not vendetta: HC told

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Mumbai, May 20 (PTI) The Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that it had registered an FIR against former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh under the Atrocities Act as the complaint in the matter, lodged by an inspector, prima facie disclosed commission of cognisable offences.

An affidavit filed by Vivek Pansare, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone III) Thane, opposed Singhs petition seeking that the FIR be quashed, and said the same was not maintainable as no grounds have been made out.

As per the affidavit filed in the HC, the FIR against Singh was registered after the complaint lodged by police inspector Bhimrao Ghadge disclosed commission of cognisable offences and that there are 32 accused in the case.

'I say that the complaint prima facie discloses commission of offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and relevant sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code), the affidavit said.

Last week, a vacation bench of the HC posted Singhs petition, seeking quashing of the FIR (first information report), for hearing on May 21.

The Maharashtra government had assured the court then that it would not arrest Singh, who is now Director General of Maharashtra Home Guard, till May 21.

Singh, in his petition filed earlier this month, had claimed he was being targeted by the Maharashtra government with false criminal cases as a backlash for a letter he wrote in March to the Chief Minister levelling corruption allegations against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.

Deshmukh resigned from the cabinet in early April after the High Court directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry against him over allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled by Singh.

The police, in its affidavit, said the allegations that the FIR and complaint have been filed as an act of vendetta against Singh appear to be misconceived as the incidents to which the FIR pertain precede and predate the petitioners letter to the Chief Minister against Deshmukh.

These allegations of vendetta are unsubstantiated, incorrect and misconceived, the affidavit said.

As per the affidavit, the probe in the case under the SC/ST Act has now been transferred from the Thane police to the state CID.

No grounds justifying the petitioners prayer for initiation of CBI inquiry have been made out, the government document said.

The FIR registered against 32 accused (one of which being the present petitioner) is based on the written complaint of Bhimrao Ghadge (belonging to the Mahar caste) which discloses in detail the commission of cognizable offences under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, it said.

The affidavit said apart from the Atrocities Act, offences under section 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury) and 218 (public servant framing incorrect record with intent to save person from punishment) of the IPC are also disclosed.

The affidavit further said the FIR lodged by the CBI against Deshmukh has no bearing to this case as the facts and incidents are different and distinct.

The FIR against Singh was based on a complaint by inspector Ghadge, who is now posted at Akola in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region.

Ghadge, in his complaint, had made a series of allegations againstSinghand other officers, related to the period whenthe senior IPS officer was the Thane police chief (2015-18).

The Akola police had registered a Zero FIR (mode of lodging FIR in any police station irrespective of the offence committed in that area or any other area) and it was later transferred to the Thane police for investigation.

Ghadge, who was posted in the Thane police Commissionerate during 2015-2018, had alleged that Singh pressured him to drop the names of some persons from a case and when he refused to do so,Singhframed him in false cases.

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