SC judge recuses himself from hearing Param Bir Singh’s plea
Mumbai, May 18: Supreme Court judge Justice BR Gavai today recused himself from hearing a plea filed by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh seeking transfer of all inquiries against him to an independent agency outside Maharashtra. The matter came up for hearing before a vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai.
"Brother (Justice Gavai) has some difficulty in taking up this matter. We will just say place it before another bench," Justice Saran said at the outset.
"I can't hear this matter," Justice Gavai said.
"List before another bench in which one of us is not a party," the bench said.
Senior advocate Puneet Bali, appearing for Param Bir Singh, said the inquiries against the former top cop is a "complete witch-hunt" and are in "complete transgression" of the orders passed by the Supreme Court as well as the Bombay High Court.
Singh, a 1988-batch IPS officer, was removed from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner on March 17 and was made the General Commander of Maharashtra State Home Guard after he levelled allegations of corruption and misconduct against then Home Minister and senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.
The Bombay High Court had ordered a CBI probe into allegations of Singh against Deshmukh who had to resign as the minister.
The senior police officer, in his fresh plea before the top court, has alleged that he has been made to face several inquiries by the state government and its instrumentalities and sought their transfer outside Maharashtra and a probe into them by an independent agency like the CBI.
Param Bir Singh has been facing inquiries, including the one under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in a case of 2015 and he has termed this as a witch-hunt by the state agency.
The former top cop of Mumbai, in his fresh plea, has made the state government, CBI and the Maharashtra Police chief as parties.
Singh, in his earlier plea filed before the top court, had sought a CBI probe against Anil Deshmukh who, he claimed, had asked police officers, including suspended cop Sachin Waze, to extort Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants.
The top court had then asked him to go the Bombay High Court which ordered CBI probe into Singh's allegations and against that order, the state government and the NCP leader subsequently failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court.
Anil Deshmukh denied any wrongdoing and had said there was not an iota of substantive evidence to even prima facie establish that any of the allegations made by Singh had an element of truth.
In its 52-page judgement passed earlier, the high court had said Singh's allegations against Mr Deshmukh had put at stake the citizen's faith in the state police.
Such allegations, made by a serving police officer, against the state home minister could not be left unattended, and were required to be probed into, if prima facie, they made a case of a cognisable offence, the high court had said.