The Maharashtra government has assured that it will not arrest former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in a case filed against him under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act till June 9 if he cooperates with the probe and doesn’t seek relief related to this case from the Supreme Court, said senior counsel Darius Khambata, who is representing the state government.
The assurance came during the hearing of a petition filed by Singh in Bombay high court, seeking to quash the FIR registered against him on a complaint of police inspector Bhimrao Ghadge. The vacation bench of justices S S Shinde and N R Borkar was hearing the matter.
Singh last week filed a petition in the apex court, alleging that he is being hounded and continuously harassed with multiple cases instituted against him by the Maharashtra government as vendetta, after he complained to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray against former home minister Anil Deshmukh.
He urged the SC to shift all the enquiries set up against him to another state and also sought for the FIRs registered against him to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Khambata on Monday told the HC that Singh “cannot ride two horses” at a time and seek reliefs from both the high court and the Supreme Court in the same case.
The bench accepted the state government’s statement that it would not arrest Singh till June 9, and directed him to not seek reliefs pertaining to this particular case before the SC. Singh’s counsel Mahesh Jethmalani agreed to the directive.
Ghadge’s advocate Satish Talekar opposed the interim protection from arrest granted to Singh.
The court, however, noted that the case dates back to 2016. “The FIR has been filed after five years. You (complainant) waited for so long…nothing will happen if you wait for two more weeks. He (Singh) has not been arrested for all these years. What purpose will it serve if he is arrested now,” the court said.
The bench also noted that Singh is still in service and is an officer of the government’s police force.
Justice Shinde also expressed his displeasure with Singh’s statement before the SC claiming he was constrained to approach the apex court as the high court was not hearing the matter.
Khambata said Singh’s submission before SC made an unfounded accusation against the HC by suppressing facts. He pointed out that on May 13 the high court had heard and adjourned the matter after the government assured to take no coercive action against Singh.
Ghadge’s advocate Satish Talekar said it seemed that Singh was resorting to forum shopping, an approach disapproved by the SC.
Jethmalani apologised to the bench and said the statement was incorrect. “We will withdraw the statement from the petition filed in the Supreme Court,” he said.
The vacation bench adjourned the case to June 9 so that it could be placed before a regular bench of the high court to avoid rehearing of the matter.
The FIR against Singh is based on a complaint filed on April 29 by police inspector Ghadge, now posted at Akola in Maharashtra.
Ghadge made a series of allegations of corruption against Singh and other officers when Singh was posted in Thane.
The FIR, which is now transferred from Akola to Thane, claimed that Singh during his term as Thane police commissioner in 2015-16, pressured Ghadge to drop the names of some developers from Kalyan-Dombivali area from a corruption case and when he refused, the IPS officer framed him up in false cases.
Ghadge also claims in the FIR that though he had complained against Singh to various authorities including the then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, they were not acted upon forcing him to file a case under the SC/ST Act against Singh in 2021. Ghadge belongs to the Mahar community, a scheduled tribe. The state CID is conducting a probe into the case.