Image - PTI
A Delhi court has directed the CBI to probe the role of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in the alleged leak of the agency's preliminary enquiry (PE) purportedly giving clean chit to him. Special judge Sanjeev Aggarwal said that even though Deshmukh was not arrayed as an accused in the CBI's charge sheet in the matter, he may be the controlling mind of the larger conspiracy since he was the main beneficiary from the leak of the contents of the PE.
The court made the observation on Wednesday while taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed against the CBI's sub-inspector Abhishek Tiwari, Deshmukh's lawyer Anand Daga and the politician's social-media handler Vaibhav Gajendra Tumane for allegedly trying to subvert the Bombay High Court directed preliminary enquiry against the ex-minister.
“It appears that accused persons i.e. Daga and Tumane were closely associated with Anil Deshmukh and may have been acting in tandem with him, who may be the controlling mind of the larger conspiracy, whereas the accused persons may only be hands, as he (Deshmukh) would have been and was the main beneficiary from the leakage of the contents of above PE and RC (case),” the judge said.
He noted that the common objective of the conspiracy appeared to be to get access to the PE and investigation done in the matter somehow, albeit in illegal and clandestine manner, thereafter to use and circulate it, and for obtainment of the same, series of conspiratorial acts were seemingly performed by above accused persons.
“The CBI seems to have left the engine/ horse pulling the cart, thereby only arraigning those travelling in cart, as without pull of engine or horse the ride of cart or conspiracy would not have been possible, despite mountain of apparent evidence, CBI seems to have forsaken the man pulling the strings or the controlling mind or master mind or head while only chargesheeting the hands, for reasons best known, therefore CBI is directed to discreetly and thoroughly further investigate the role of Anil Deshmukh in present matter with utmost alacrity, in a time bound manner,” the court said.
It directed the agency to file a status report in this regard within four weeks “without fail”. The CBI had earlier arrested Tiwari, Daga and Tumane in the case, who are currently in the judicial custody. Tiwari was taken into custody for allegedly receiving bribe from Daga, a Nagpur based advocate, the CBI said. The CBI had started a probe into the leak in which it emerged that findings of the PE were influenced.
The CBI had started a PE on the orders of the Bombay High Court which had issued the direction while hearing a public interest litigation on allegations of corruption against Deshmukh. The claimed PE findings, which were leaked, showed the Deputy SP probing the matter had purportedly opined that no cognisable offence was made out against Deshmukh. It was later converted into an FIR based on a contrasting opinion of the Deputy SP. The opinion mentioned in the FIR said that cognisable offence was made out against Deshmukh.
"The Preliminary Enquiry prima facie revealed that a cognisable offence is made out in the matter, wherein the then Home minister of Maharashtra, Shri Anil Deshmukh and unknown others have attempted to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of their public duty," the CBI FIR alleged.
In the FIR, the CBI had booked Deshmukh and others unidentified under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act for "attempt to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of public duty." Allegations against Deshmukh had surfaced after the removal of Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. He was removed after the role of policemen Sachin Waze surfaced in the case of an explosive-laden SUV which was found parked outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani. Waze was arrested by the NIA.
In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh had asked Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants of Mumbai, they said. The FIR alleged that Deshmukh "and others" exercised undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials.
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