Bombay High Court to government: Param Bir Singh not to be arrested till Monday

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The Bombay High Court late Friday night directed the Maharashtra government to not arrest former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh till Monday in view of the court partly hearing his petition seeking to quash an FIR lodged against him and other officers on a corruption complaint filed by Inspector Bhimrao Ghadge.

The court heard Singh’s lawyer, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, and senior advocate Darius Khambata, representing the state, till 11.55 pm through a video conference.

“We have heard Mr Jethmalani and Mr Khambata up to 11.55 pm and since we cease to be vacation court judges at the stroke of 12 am, we adjourn the hearing to Monday, subject to the Registry taking permission from the Honourable Chief Justice,” the division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice S P Tavade said.

The bench added that while it had requested the state to continue with the assurance it gave during the earlier hearing that Singh will not be arrested, the government’s refusal to do so had made the HC commence the hearing late at night after it heard over 60 cases throughout the day.

It added that since the matter is “part-heard”, the state shall not arrest Singh.

Earlier, Jethmalani said that the state government naming Singh in five FIRs lodged in 2015-16 and seeking to take action against him was illegal and malafide.

He added that action against Singh was initiated only after he wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in March accusing former home minister Anil Deshmukh of corruption.

Jethmalani also said that since the cases were sub-judice, the state’s action against Singh would be a re-investigation, which is not permissible.

Khambata opposed the petition stating that only because Singh wrote one letter to the CM, he cannot be considered above law for any other offence he commits. He added that Ghadge’s complaint was serious and cognizance had to be taken of it.

When the court asked about Singh’s stand that the FIR was malafide and lodged as a result of his fallout with the state government, Khambata said that it was a separate issue and if established, he could seek certain other reliefs, but the FIR against him cannot be quashed.

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