Anil Deshmukh's plea rejected by Supreme Court seeking records of preliminary enquiry
"Should we entertain this because he has been a minister?" the court asked.
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh seeking details of the preliminary enquiry (PE) report in the corruption case, including file notations and internal correspondence, saying "should we entertain this because he has been a minister".
Deshmukh's plea was dismissed by a bench led by Justice S K Kaul, who stated that he can plead his case before the competent court and that they are free to do so.
The petition under section 32 is predicated on the premise that the court's orders were issued on the basis that the PE could have been material to the petition. However, according to certain newspaper reports, the petitioner was given a clean chit in the investigation.
"The prayer is to call for all the records to look into the PE. We are not inclined to exercise our jurisdiction under Article 32. In the given scenario it is always open to the petitioner to plead before the competent court," said the bench also comprising Justice M M Sundresh.
Deshmukh's senior counsel Kapil Sibal argued that the court had already said that the PE should be completed because the commissioner of police had made these charges.
"The PE on the orders of the Bombay High Court has recorded statements of many key players. If this is true then it takes the whole basis of the record. Then there is political motivation in this. All family members, servants are being called everyday to admit that you are leaking this report," Sibal submitted.
The court, however, said, "We don't know how much credence can be given to all this material. Should we entertain this because he has been a minister.The investigation can carry on. Why should this court entertain this petition under Article 32. Competent courts are already looking into this. We are not inclined."
Deshmukh was sentenced to 14 days in judicial custody by a special PMLA court here on Monday after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) declined to seek his additional remand in connection with a multi-crore money laundering case.
After questioning in the case, Deshmukh (71) was arrested by the ED on November 1 under the terms of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a FIR against Deshmukh and his associates on April 21 this year on charges of corruption and misuse of public position, the ED launched an investigation into him and his collaborators.
Deshmukh and others were charged with money laundering after the CBI charged him in a corruption case involving charges of at least Rs 100 crore in bribery levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
According to the ED, while acting as the state's home minister, Deshmukh took advantage of his official position and received Rs 4.70 crore from several bars and restaurants in Mumbai through discharged police officer Sachin Waze.
Deshmukh has denied these claims, claiming that the entire case was built around malicious remarks made by a compromised cop (Waze).
A special court had also received the agency's prosecution complaint (akin to a charge sheet) against the two.