Param Bir moves HC against Deshmukh, raises `corruption in transfers' issue too

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(Eds: adds details from petition) Mumbai, Mar 25 (PTI) Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh on Thursday filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI probe against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who he claimed asked police officer Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants.

The PIL also raised the issue of alleged corruption in police transfers and postings in the state.

The IPS officer had earlier this week approached the Supreme Court, which on Wednesday termed the matter as quite serious but asked him to approach the High Court.

The criminal Public Interest Litigation reiterated the allegations Singh had made earlier and sought an 'immediate, unbiased, impartial' probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation against Deshmukh, an NCP leader.

Singh sought an HC direction to the CBI to secure CCTV footage from Deshmukh's residence from earlier this year before it was 'destroyed,' and to the state government to produce all records of communication received from IPS officer Rashmi Shukla in March 2020.

In February last year, Shukla had levelled allegations of malpractises in police postings and transfers against Deshmukh and also informed her superiors about it, but soon afterwards she was transferred, alleged the PIL.

The court should pass directions to ensure that in future police officials are not transferred on account of 'pecuniary benefits to any politician', it said.

Opposition BJP earlier this week alleged that Shukla, when she was state intelligence commissioner, had intercepted phone calls and gathered evidence of corruption in police transfers.

The PIL claimed that last month Deshmukh had asked some police officials including Waze (who was later arrested in the Ambani security scare case) to collect Rs 100 crore every month, including Rs 40-50 crore from around 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.

Singh had made this allegation first in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Deshmukh has denied the allegation.

The PIL also alleged that Deshmukh interfered in investigations and pressurised him to implicate BJP leaders in the case of alleged suicide of Dadra Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar.

The former Mumbai police commissioner also accused Deshmukh of indulging in 'corrupt malpractices' in transfers and postings of police officers.

Singh apprised chief minister Thackeray of these allegations, but 'immediately thereafter, on March 17' he was shunted out to the Home Guards Department without allowing him to complete the 'minimum fixed tenure of two years', he said.

Later Desmukh said in an interview that Singh's colleagues made serious lapses in the investigation of the recovery of explosives-laden vehicle near Mukesh Ambani's house.

However, there were five other senior officers between him and assistant police inspector Waze who were also handling the probe, and all necessary assistance was given by his office, Singh claimed.

He filed this PIL as these issues have a direct bearing on the administration, the petition said.

The PIL is likely to be taken up for hearing by a bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta next week. PTI AYA VT KRK KRK