Mumbai, Dec. 15: The Maharashtra government, which had till now rejected the demand for a CBI probe into the stamp paper scam, today approached Bombay High Court with a petition saying it was ready to transfer the case to the central agency.
The turnaround came even as the state police got ready to administer the truth serum to main accused Abdul Karim Telgi and nine others, including former Mumbai police chief Ranjit Singh Sharma and Samajwadi Party MLA Anil Gote.
The high court-appointed special investigation team (SIT), which has arrested a dozen police officers, including high-ranking officials like Sharma and additional police commissioner Sreedhar Vagal, is in charge of the probe now. The government’s petition will come up for hearing on December 17.
Because of the rapid strides in investigations by the SIT, the high court had earlier asked the CBI to let the investigating team do its job until it decides the matter “at an appropriate time”.
Reserving its verdict on the central government’s plea to hand over the probe to the central agency, the court had said the SIT should assist the CBI, which is looking into the matter in other states, “as and when required”.
The Congress-led state government had stuck to its stand that the SIT was doing a commendable job.
“The CBI’s functioning is not above suspicion and it is also not the last word in investigations,” chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said even as the Centre maintained that only the CBI could do justice to a scam spread over nine states “ and with internal security ramifications”.
The Centre and the BJP-Shiv Sena Opposition in the state have also been saying that the SIT may not be able to lay a finger on politicians as it was a team comprising police officers from the state cadre.
Today, advocate-general Goolam Vahanvati said the state had no objection to a CBI probe as “most of the legislators as well as deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and governor Mohammed Fazal had expressed a strong desire to transfer the investigations”.
Vahanvati added that Advani had communicated a request to Shinde asking for the case to be transferred as Telgi allegedly had links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.
In Pune, investigators got a boost when a special court granted permission to the SIT to subject Telgi and some of the other accused to P-300, also known as brain finger-printing test, narco-analysis and lie detector tests. Telgi may be brought from Bangalore’s Central Jail to Maharashtra for this.