Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the police not to arrest former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in a case under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act till May 24.
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade late on Friday night heard a petition filed by Singh, seeking to quash the FIR lodged against him and demanding a CBI probe into the case.
While Singh’s counsel claimed that the FIR was a backlash over his allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, the government said the FIR was registered as the complaint disclosed commission of offence.
The bench, however, questioned the timing of the FIR and said, “We do not understand why all this after Param Bir Singh has had a fallout with the government.”
After hearing the parties at length for over an hour, the court at midnight said it now ceases to be a vacation bench, and hence the matter would have to be heard on Monday.
“Since the matter is part heard, the State of Maharashtra in the meantime shall not arrest Param Bir Singh till the next date of hearing,” the court said.
The court noted that it had to hear the matter late as the state government was not willing to extend it statement made last week that it would not arrest Singh for a few more days.
Singh’s counsel Mahesh Jethmalani argued that the FIRs lodged against Singh was a result of the letter the former Mumbai commissioner of police wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister against Deshmukh.
“There is not a shred of evidence against Singh in this case. The state is just vindictive towards someone who has proved to be inconvenient to them. A disgruntled person, who is already accused in several cases, is picked up by the government only to implicate Singh,” Jethmalani said.
He further argued that the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act cannot be attracted unless the offence is committed due to caste motivations.
Senior counsel Darius Khambata, appearing for the Maharashtra government, alleged that Singh indulged in corrupt practices.
“Singh tried to get the complainant (Bhimrao Ghadge) do his dirty work and when he refused, Singh got him suspended,” he argued.
The FIR is based on a complaint by police inspector Ghadge, now posted at Akola in Maharashtra.
Ghadge made a series of allegations of corruption against Singh and other officers when Singh was posted in Thane.
The IPS officer pressured him to drop the names of some persons from a case and when he refused, Singh framed him up in false cases, the FIR, now transferred to Thane, claimed. (PTI)