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Why didn't you lodge FIR, Bombay HC asks former Mumbai top cop
Posing tough questions to former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday pointedly asked him why he did not file a First Information Report (FIR) against the alleged malpractices of state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh before bringing the matter to the courts.
Warning that the court could pull up Singh, the Chief Justice Dipankar Datta said that police officer was failing in his duties if he didn't lodge a FIR despite knowing that an offence was committed and "simply writing letters to the CM won't do".
"You are a Police Commissioner, why should the law be set aside for you? Don't view yourself so high the law is above you," the CJ said, observing that it is in extremely rare cases that the court can order a FIR.
Arguing for Singh, senior advocate Vikram Nankani contended that these allegations were coming from "one of the senior most officers of the (police) force" and these were informed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar.
He contended that it was in the High Court's powers to convert Singh's letter into a petition and urged that the investigation into the allegations should be transferred out of the state (Maharashtra) to ensure "an independent and fair probe".
Opposing the contentions, state Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni representing the state, termed Singh as a "disgruntled litigant", called the entire allegations of the extortion racket as hearsay and made out of "personal vendetta" against Deshmukh, and argued that the plea itself was not maintainable, and it was affecting the morale of the entire force.
Among other things, in the petition, Singh has claimed that he was transferred on March 17 as Commandant-General of Home Guards after he exposed the alleged corrupt practices of Deshmukh.
The IPS officer detailed how the minister allegedly bypassed senior officers to call juniors like Sachin Vaze and asked them to "collect" Rs 100 crore per month from bars, pubs and other sources.
He also claimed that Deshmukh allegedly put pressures on him to probe the role of certain Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and somehow implicate them in the suicide of Dadar and Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar in Mumbai in February.
Singh further alleged how the former Commissioner, State Intelligence Department (SID) Rashmi Shukla had brought out the alleged irregularities in police department based on telephone tapping, etc.