The Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Subodh Jaiswal is a “potential accused” in the case related to former state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. The Maharashtra government said this while seeking transfer of investigation in the case from the CBI to a special investigation team (SIT).

The CBI is probing charges of irregularities in transfer and posting of police officers against Anil Deshmukh. CBI Director Subodh Jaiswal is heading the team probing charges against Anil Deshmukh.

Counsel for Maharashtra government, Darius Khambata told the Bombay High Court that Subodh Jaiswal should be considered a “potential accused” of probe in the case. He said Subodh Jaiswala held important position in the Maharashtra Police force during 2019-2020.

Khambata sought for constitution of a court-monitored independent committee headed by a retired high court judge to carry out the investigation. Khambata told the high court that Subodh Jaiswal was the director general of police (DGP) and he was also part of the Police Establishment Board.

He said Jaiswal was involved in the decisions taken with regard to transfers and postings of police officers which CBI was presently probing. Recommendations for posting were approved by Subodh Jaiswal during his tenure, Khambata asserted.

Khambata read out minutes of several meetings of the Police Establishment Board where Subodh Jaiswal was present and had approached the matters related to transfers. He told the high court that after Anil Deshmukh, the next in line was the DGP who was the “fulcrum and heart of the investigation”.

You have a situation where the director was at the heart of the investigation. You address a letter to the present DGP who was not even in the establishment then, but you do not send something like this to the then DGP who was in the establishment,” Khambata said.

Khambata said in the event the director was summoned, it would be “absurd” for a junior officer to interrogate the director.

“If you want the minutes [of the Police Establishment Board meetings] to be investigated, then you will have to be asking the people who attended the meeting, why the officers have been transferred. And, it will be absurd if an officer will have to put these questions to his director. And, it boggles my mind that a potential accused is heading the agency,” Khambata argued.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, opposed the plea stating that the Maharashtra government had no locus to file the petition in the present case as the persons summoned could always avail their remedies in the court.

The CBI had issued summons to Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte and present DGP Sanjay Pandey for investigation in the Anil Deshmukh case. Tushar Mehta said that the Maharashtra government was trying to protect the accused.

“There is no role of the State. State is trying to protect the accused. The accused needs to be heard if at all anyone needs to be heard. If they feel they are potential accused, then they can approach as petitioners,” Tushar Mehta said.

The bench of Justices Nitin Sambre and SV Kotwal said they were not inclined to grant any interim or ad-interim reliefs without giving the CBI a chance to file a reply. Now the court will hear the case on October 28

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