The Maharashtra government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that it was willing to cooperate with the CBI in its probe against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh but the documents sought by the central agency are “not relevant” to the case.
The state government submitted its affidavit in response to an application filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleging the government was not cooperating by refusing to hand over certain documents in connection with a probe against Anil Deshmukh.
The CBI had last month filed an application stating the government was acting contrary to an order passed by the HC which allowed the Central agency to inquire into allegations of corruption in police transfers and reinstatement of Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze, now dismissed.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh had alleged that Deshmukh when he was home minister, had instructed Waze and other police officers to collect Rs 100 crore per month from bars in Mumbai.
Anil Deshmukh had denied these allegations.
The state government claimed in the affidavit that the HC had said the CBI didn’t have “unfettered authority” to probe police transfers that have “no nexus to Deshmukh”.
“Applicant (CBI) is demanding documents and/or information which are not at all relevant in terms of relevancy to the case it is probing,” the affidavit said.
“The documents and/or material so demanded by the applicant has no nexus whatsoever even either with the then Hon”ble Home Minister (Deshmukh) and his associates and/or any of the allegations made against him and resultantly has no connection and therefore not needed by the applicant for the purpose of carrying out investigation,” it said.
The government said the CBI was “overstepping its authority, jurisdiction and power in demanding the documents and/or information”.
The matter came up for hearing on Tuesday before a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar which posted it for further hearing on Friday (August 20).
“We will consider the stand of the state government then. But we are putting the state to notice…if we feel that our orders are not being followed…we reserve our comments for now,” Justice Shinde said.
The affidavit filed by Kailas Gaikwad, Joint Secretary, Home Department, added that the Maharashtra government and its officials are duty-bound to cooperate in the investigation being carried out by the CBI pursuant to the conditional order passed by the HC.
“The State Government and its officials are ready and willing to fully cooperate with the applicant (CBI) in its investigation, provided the investigation is done strictly within the four corners of orders passed by this Hon’ble Court,” the affidavit said.
It added the state government has no malafide intentions to defy the orders of the high court.
The government said the documents sought by the CBI is part of another investigation initiated by the police’s cyber cell concerning leakage of confidential information and data theft.
By demanding documents and/or information that is a subject matter of this alleged crime, the CBI is interfering with the investigation that is being carried out legally by the cyber cell, the affidavit said.
In an application filed last month, the CBI said it had written a letter to the State Intelligence Department seeking details of a communication sent by senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla on the issue of corruption in police transfers and postings, but the SID refused to provide them claiming it was part of an ongoing investigation.
The high court on July 22 held that the CBI can inquire the allegations of corruption in transfers and postings of police personnel and dismissed a petition filed by the Maharashtra government seeking that some parts of the Central agency’s FIR against Anil Deshmukh be quashed.
The CBI on April 21 registered an FIR against Anil Deshmukh on the charges of corruption and misuse of the official position. The FIR was lodged after the agency conducted a preliminary enquiry against the NCP leader following an order from the HC on April 5.
Anil Deshmukh is also facing a probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
On Monday, the Supreme Court refused interim protection to the 71-year-old NCP politician from any coercive action by the federal agency.