'33 of 434 transfer proposals modified under Deshmukh'

Deshmukh case: Only 33 of 434 transfer-posting recommendations modified, Maharashtra tells HC

On Friday, the Bombay High Court closed all arguments in Anil Deshmukh's case and reserved its order on the state government's plea

Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. Credit: IANS File Photo

The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Friday that of the 400-odd recommendations made by the police establishment board on transfers and postings of state police officers during the tenure of former Home minister Anil Deshmukh, only 33 had been modified.

Senior counsel Darius Khambata, who appeared for the Maharashtra government, told a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and SV Kotwal that the modified decisions amounted to just about "7.6 percent" of the total transfers and postings of state police officers made while Deshmukh was the state home minister.

Khambata was arguing on the state's behalf seeking that the CBI summons issued to its chief secretary Sitaram Kunte and DGP Sanjay Pandey on questioning related to Deshmukh be quashed.

Also Read | Graft charges against Deshmukh: Commission asks Param Bir Singh to appear before it on Monday

"HC asked in how many cases had the home minister overridden the order? He (CBI counsel) didn't have an answer. I am giving you answers to that. Please use it for your (CBI) investigation," Khambata said.

"Total recommendations for transfer was 434, of which modifications to transfers and postings were made by the competent authority in 33 cases. That's 7.6 per cent," he said.

Khambata further said DGP Pandey, who had been summoned by the CBI, had nothing to do with Deshmukh's case and that it was a harassment tactic by the agency.

"Pandey took charge as state DGP only in April 2021 and has no connection to the allegations. Besides, he is an upright officer, who has spent most of his life fighting the government over issues such as favouritism and his repeated transfers," he said.

The state's counsel said CBI's own director, Subodh Jaiswal, was Maharashtra DGP during Deshmukh's tenure as home minister and, therefore, Jaiswal was a potential subject of the central agency's ongoing probe.

Also Read | Anil Deshmukh's son active participant in money laundering: ED tells court

Khambata said because CBI had found Jaiswal in the eye of the storm, it had hurriedly pinned the entire blame on Deshmukh in the case. Khambata urged HC to transfer the probe to a special investigation team instead, as well as appoint a retired judge to monitor such probe.

The CBI's counsel, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, opposed Khambata's arguments and said there was no malafide in the agency's probe, adding that Deshmukh was being probed not because of Jaiswal's whim but following the HC order of April 5.

He also said even if the modified recommendations amounted to only seven per cent, they still needed to be investigated.

Following an order of the Bombay HC on April 5, the CBI conducted a preliminary inquiry into the corruption allegations made by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh, and, subsequently, registered an FIR against the NCP leader.

In September, the CBI summoned Maharashtra chief secretary Sitaram Kunte and the present DGP Sanjay Pandey, asking them to report to the central agency in Delhi for answering questions related to Deshmukh. The Maharashtra government, however, approached HC challenging the summons.

On Friday, the HC closed all arguments in the case and reserved its order on the state government's plea. It permitted all parties to submit their written arguments and also took on record a document pertaining to the CBI's probe that the agency submitted in a sealed cover.

Check out the latest videos from DH:

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox