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"You Are Part Of Maharashtra Cadre For More Than 30Yrs, You Don't Have Confidence In Your Own Force?" Supreme Court To Parambir Singh -Courtroom Exchange

Mehal Jain
11 Jun 2021 7:30 AM GMT
You Are Part Of Maharashtra Cadre For More Than 30Yrs, You Dont Have Confidence In Your Own Force? Supreme Court To Parambir Singh -Courtroom Exchange
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The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a writ petition filed by expelled Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against the departmental inquiries initiated against him by the Maharashtra Government.

A Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian granted liberty to the petitioner to withdraw the petition and raise his contentions before the Bombay High Court.

The following is the courtroom exchange as it transpired:

Justice Gupta: You have filed 3 petitions before the Bombay High Court. The reliefs claimed are identical. If not identical, they are overlapping. Why should the court allow this?
Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani: This is the most serious issue. There is an attempt to subvert the order of the Bombay High Court for a CBI preliminary enquiry (against former HM Anil Deshmukh), which has now led to a FIR and the accused came to Supreme Court and were rejected. The approach here is to support that.
Justice Gupta: The enquiry against the former home minister is separate and the enquiry against you for your misconduct is separate. You want the latter enquiry to go outside the state? You have been part of the state police for 30 years! You can't have a doubt on your police force!
Mr. Jethmalani: I am not having a doubt in my police. Please give me five minutes to explain to you the connection between the genesis of the CBI enquiry against the home minister and the action which is being taken against me. At the outset, Your Lordships are absolutely right- I have moved 2 petitions which are pending and coming up for hearing before the High Court. There was a public interest litigation (for enquiry against the home minister) in which relief has been granted and that has been disposed off. The entire genesis of this case is the letter I wrote on 20th of March 2019 to the chief minister of Maharashtra and I had pointed out that there were serious lapses on the part of the home minister and an extortion racket going on. I have written that a number of business sectors of the Mumbai community in particular were being exhorted by the Minister.
Justice Gupta: You were Commissioner of police of Bombay! No steps were taken to stop that by you?
Mr. Jethamalani: I have. I told the chief minister what serious steps I have taken in the letter. Whatever is overlapping here, I will argue in the High Court on Monday. But they have put an enquiry against me on the first of April. The enquiry officer is the DG of Maharashtra. After the FIR by the CBI against Anil Deshmukh, the genesis of which enquiry was in my letter, which the High Court has recorded in its order directing the preliminary enquiry, now I am being pressurised by the enquiry officer. The enquiry officer has contacted me and told me to withdraw that letter of 20th March which I wrote to the chief minister, lest there will be several criminal cases lodged against me
Justice Gupta: If the person of the rank of DGP can give in to pressure, then there will be nobody who can't be pressurised. Please don't tell make-believe stories.
Mr. Jethmalani: It is not a make-believe story. I have got transcripts of it and the gentleman has not denied it. The episode of the DGP approaching me has been annexed by virtue of a tape-recorded conversation. During the whole day of 15th of April, he has told me that he is asking as the mediator of the government of Maharashtra that if I withdraw the letter of 20th March, not only will this enquiry be withdrawn but a number of other criminal cases which are being contemplated will not be initiated against me. 'So I am advising you as your mentor to withdraw', he said to me.
The senior counsel indicated the letter which Singh has written to the CBI after this incident: "Vital developments having impact on the preliminary enquiry have taken place on 15 April 2021. I sent a message to DG Maharashtra Sanjay Pandey on WhatsApp. Sanjay Pandey reverted forthwith and asked me to meet him immediately. As per the IPS rules, I met him at DG Office. Pursuant to exchanging pleasantries, he initiated the topic of the impending CBI enquiry. He wanted to advise me on the same. I was taken aback. He advised me that he has been in the system for several years but the fight is never victorious and that the system always gets to you. One can't get over the system. He said departmental enquiry is one of the few actions being contemplated by the state government and that the government is considering lodging several criminal cases against me"
It may be noted that the Thane Police is investigating the case lodged by a subordinate officer against Singh for various offences under the SC/ST Act, Civil Rights Protection Act, Maharashtra Police Act and IPC. Param Bir Singh has approached the High Court u/s 482 of the CrPC, seeking to quash the FIR.
Mr. Jethmalani: The criminal complaints having been lodged against me, one of which I have challenged, and the others which are in the pipeline are all by notorious persons who are facing several cases. The complainant in the one which comes up on Monday is the person involved in five cases. There is another who is involved in MACOCA. All these are chargesheeted accused who are now being made to implicate me in false cases
Justice Gupta: You will have the opportunity to cross examine, defend yourself. We Can't pre-judge. The past conduct of the complainant is not the ground on which the complaint can be quashed
Justice Gupta: Anyway, can you withdraw your complaint? It is like a bullet which has been fired and it has to go to the target!
Justice Gupta: If you want to address the matter on merits, if you are very eager, we can hear you. Then we will pass the order. Then we will not ask you to go to the Bombay High Court.
Mr. Jethmalani: My limited prayer today is this- I can't keep facing one case after the other just because I am a whistleblower. In the case which is pending before the High Court, the complainant is facing five trials which have not even reached charge stage and now he is saying all those cases have been falsely filed at my instance! I am seeking a writ of mandamus directing the CBI to forthwith enquire the criminal conspiracy to frame the petitioner.
Further, I am praying for an order transferring all enquiries and investigations already contemplated against me outside the state of Maharashtra or to an independent agency like the CBI
Justice Gupta: What is surprising to us is that you are part of Maharashtra cadre for more than 30 years now. You don't have the confidence in your own force? Shocking allegations have been made by you!
Mr. Jethmalani: If the police officers were totally independent and were not caged parrots, I would have confidence. There are other people like me who are also being victimised. Anybody who talks against the government is being victimised. That is what Sanjay Pandey said!
Justice Gupta: Can there be a blanket stay by us on the lodging of FIRs?
Mr. Jethmalani: I am only saying that there be no FIR without the leave of Your Lordships.
Justice Gupta: There are different magistrates to deal with the FIRs. We are not dealing with all the FIRs.
Mr. Jethmalani: For the rest of my life, I will have to fight these cases only because of my letter!
Justice Gupta: It is commonly said that a person who lives in a glasshouse should not throw stones at others!
Mr. Jethmalani: Your Lordships are assuming that I am in a glass House?
Justice Gupta: Maybe
Mr. Jethmalani: That is a prejudicial statement against me. I am saying they are false cases. They can't be pre-judged! If Your Lordships say that I am living in a glasshouse, I am being pre-judged.
Justice Gupta: We will now pass our order dismissing the petition.
Senior Advocate Puneet Bali, also for the petitioner, sought to withdraw the petition to approach the Bombay High Court.
Justice Gupta: We had given you the chance at the very beginning.
Mr. Bali: Please grant us that liberty. If Your Lordships say that a 32 petition is not maintainable at this stage, then we are given the liberty to go to the HC. There 7-8 dates back to back with only 3-3 days gap! We are being hounded, being sent from one place to the other, the departmental enquiry has been started! The apprehension was that the moment I filed the letter to the CBI, I am being hounded. There are departmental enquiries against me for people who were suspended by me. I am only saying that this department inquiry be enquired into by any other state. But I thought that this is not a relief that the High Court can give. So I came here.
Justice Gupta: Can any other state investigate allegations of the FIRs? There is to be some logic in the argument.
Mr. Bali: They may be investigated by some independent agency. But we will withdraw the petition and we will seek all the reliefs before the Bombay High Court.
Justice Gupta: Mr. Jethmalani, do you agree?
Mr. Jethmalani: I don't want a dismissal, I'd rather keep all my contentions open.


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