Deshmukh: HC questions Maharashtra's refusal to share documents with CBI
The Bombay High Court on Friday questioned the Maharashtra government's refusal to share certain documents with the CBI for its probe against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, and said that unless the documents are seen how can the central agency decide if there was any nexus with him over alleged corruption in police transfers and postings.
The state government had earlier claimed that the documents sought by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not have any relevance with the agency's corruption probe against Deshmukh.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar was hearing an application filed by the CBI alleging that the government was not cooperating by refusing to hand over certain documents in connection with a probe against the NCP leader.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the CBI, on Friday said the government by refusing to hand over the documents was acting in contempt to a July order passed by the high court, which said that the agency had the power to inquire into corruption in police transfers and the reinstatement of police officer Sachin Waze.
The bench noted that earlier the state government had said that it was not averse to any investigation.
"Now why is the state government averse? We don't have any words. Why should the state government do this?" Justice Shinde said.
Senior counsel Rafiq Dada, appearing for the state government, argued that the HC had not said that the government was bound to give the documents and had in fact said that the CBI should investigate only those aspects that have a nexus with Deshmukh and his associates.
"Unless the CBI sees the documents, how will they (CBI) decide if there is any nexus or not. We only said that the CBI does not have unfettered authority to probe into other transfers. But the documents they are seeking pertain to a report submitted by Rashmi Shukla (IPS officer) on the issue of corruption in police transfers," the court said.
"These documents, we believe, you (government) cannot object to. Whatever period Anil Deshmukh was holding the portfolio of home minister, those documents may be needed," Justice Shinde said.
The court directed Dada to take instructions from the government on what documents it was willing to share with the CBI.
"Both are agencies of the state and the Centre. There are many occasions where information is shared. Tell us the list of documents you (state government) are willing to share. This will lead to a congenial and happy situation," the court said.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 24.
The CBI, in its application filed last month, had said it had written a letter to the State Intelligence Department seeking details of a communication sent by senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla on the issue of corruption in police transfers and postings, but the SID refused to provide them claiming it was part of an ongoing investigation.
The high court had on July 22 held that the CBI can inquire the allegations of corruption in transfers and postings of police personnel limited to its nexus with Deshmukh and had dismissed a petition filed by the Maharashtra government seeking that some parts of the central agency's FIR against the NCP leader be quashed.
The CBI had on April 21 lodged an FIR against Deshmukh on charges of corruption and misuse of official position. The FIR was lodged after the agency conducted a preliminary inquiry against the state's former home minister following an order from the HC on April 5.