The Supreme Court allowed Mumbai police to carry on the investigation against former police commissioner Param Bir Singh but restrained it from filing charge sheets on the FIRs against him over the allegations of misconduct and corruption. A bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh also directed the CBI to file its response on the issue whether the probe should be handed over to it. The top court said it was only concerned with the “likelihood of bias”.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said the FIRs should also be entrusted to the central probe agency and he will file an affidavit regarding the same. Senior advocate Darius Kambatta, appearing for Maharashtra, stated that the Singh's petition was a service dispute against departmental inquiries, which should be contested before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
The bench then said, “What are your allegations regarding his service etc, that is for you to take. But this is one of the very unfortunate messages. “The only concern that we should have is, whether in regards to other matter whether the CBI should consider the same or not,” it said. Senior advocate Puneet Bali, appearing for Singh, told the apex court that the Maharashtra government was acting with "mala fide” against the former police commissioner.
Param Bir not whistleblower
The Maharashtra government has filed a counter-affidavit before the SC seeking dismissal of the special leave petition (SLP) submitted by Param Bir. The state said it had “no knowledge of any conversation having taken place” between him and incumbent director general of police Sanjay Pandey, and only learnt of the alleged exchange when Singh filed the petition.
Singh is no whistleblower, contrary to his claim in the SLP, the state said, adding that it has approved initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him under the All-India Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules of 1969, and issued him the charges of alleged misconduct or misbehaviour and lists of documents and witnesses.
The state said the Bombay high court order of September 16, which Singh seeks to challenge before the SC, is correct. It added that HC’s dismissal of Singh’s petition against two preliminary inquiries against him in April - to be conducted by Pandey - were on grounds of maintainability. The state said validity or allegations of ‘malafides’ of its orders to conduct preliminary inquiries falls within ambit of ‘service matters’ which can be challenged before the Central Administrative Tribunal, as held by the HC.