The Bombay High Court has sought to know who the unknown accused are in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The court has sought a progress report in a sealed cover from the CBI in its probe against Anil Deshmukh.
A bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice NJ Jamadar said that it is the CBI’s duty to investigate not just Deshmukh, but everyone allegedly involved in corruption in the matter related to him.
The court asked the CBI about the progress in its investigation into an FIR registered against Deshmukh in April. “What is the progress of the investigation? We would like to see a progress report in a sealed envelope. We will read and give it back,” the court said.
The bench pointed to the fact that the case is registered against Deshmukh and “unknown people”. Justice Shinde said, “This unknown we see in robbery and theft cases. Who are these unknown?” The bench added that substantial time has passed since the preliminary inquiry.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Deshmukh challenging the FIR registered on charges of corruption and misuse of official position. The FIR was lodged after the agency carried out a preliminary inquiry under directions from the high court. Following the court order, on “moral ground,” Deshmukh had resigned from the post of Home Minister.
The CBI inquiry was to be based upon a complaint lodged with the Mumbai Police by a lawyer seeking a probe against Deshmukh in the aftermath of allegations of corruption levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
On Monday, when senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for Deshmukh, was arguing, the bench questioned whether, at this stage, when the probe was still on, the court should hear a plea for quashing the case.
The bench noted that the High Court, in its April 5 order directing the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry, used the words – “to instil public confidence in the administration”. At this, Justice Shinde said, “Therefore, it is not just limited to the petitioner but to all those who are involved in the allegations levelled in the FIR.”
“Pursuant to High Court directives, a preliminary inquiry was initiated and then FIR was lodged. It would be the duty of the CBI to investigate everyone who was involved in this. Not just Deshmukh. This may also include those who were in the committee that reinstated Sachin Vaze,” the court said. Dismissed Mumbai cop Vaze had alleged that Deshmukh had asked him to extort Rs 100 crores per month from various business establishments.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the CBI, told the court that he would inform the court on these points at the next hearing on July 7.