In a major embarrassment for the city’s former Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, the Bombay high court on Wednesday threw the rulebook at him, spelling out the exact steps he should have taken to get an FIR registered against the state home minister Anil Deshmukh for the alleged extortion racket. The HC said the top cop failed in his duty as a commissioner by not filing an FIR against his boss Deshmukh despite being privy to the fact that he was allegedly involved in wrongdoing.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni also asked Singh how it could order the CBI to probe the matter — as requested by the latter — when there was no FIR in the case.
The judges, after hearing lengthy arguments from various parties, including the state, closed the matter for orders on a limited point, i.e. the preliminary objection raised by the state government while opposing a CBI probe in the absence of an FIR.
“We fail to understand under what law can the CBI be ordered to probe when there is no FIR at all,” CJ Datta told senior counsel Vikram Nankani, appearing for Singh. “Which law allows a court to order probe by CBI in absence of any FIR? There isn’t any law as such,” the judges said.
At this, Nankani told the bench that his client had written an eight-page letter to the CM detailing his contentions against Deshmukh. He cited several instances when such letters have been made a complaint by courts.
“You (Singh) wrote letters to the CM but no such letter was written to this court for us to consider it suo motu,” CJ Datta pointed out.
“We think you have failed in your duty as the commissioner of police in not filing any FIR against your own boss despite knowing his wrongdoings. You should have had filed one,” the CJ remarked.
The bench, further detailing the procedure, told Nankani that his client should have filed an FIR. “The crux of the matter is there is no FIR and still there is a prayer to order CBI to probe the case,” the judge said.
“You have the option to directly file an FIR or approach the Magistrate and seek a prayer for filing an FIR,” the bench explained.
At this, Nankani urged the bench to not get into ‘technicalities’ and consider ordering a thorough probe directly.