'State won't grant sanction': Supreme Court junks Deshmukh's plea against CBI FIR

Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh
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Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh (Photo/IANS)

Highlights

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh's plea seeking quashing of the FIR registered by the CBI to probe corruption allegations levelled against him by the former Mumbai police chief.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh's plea seeking quashing of the FIR registered by the CBI to probe corruption allegations levelled against him by the former Mumbai police chief.

Senior advocate Amit Desai, representing Deshmukh, argued that the CBI required the sanction of the state government under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act to register the FIR. He said that the Bombay High Court order had only directed the CBI to do a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the matter, and then the investigating agency was required to "act in accordance with law" based on its result.

"In accordance with law" meant the CBI had to seek the sanction of the state government before registering the FIR, he added.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah queried Desai if there was an inquiry launched under Section 17 (A) against the Home Minister, then it defeats the purpose, as the state would never grant sanction to prosecute the minister.

The top court was hearing the former minister's petition challenging the July 22 Bombay High Court judgment, which dismissed Deshmukh's petition seeking to quash the CBI FIR.

The bench queried whether requirement of Section 17A sanction will come, if the investigation has been directed by the court. Justice Chandrachud cited precedents stating that the sanction of the state under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act is not needed for CBI investigation, when the court has ordered registration of the FIR.

He noted: "Why investigation is ordered in the first place? Because the state can't be trusted."

Justice Shah said the high court ordered a PE by the CBI to ensure the rights of the accused are protected to the maximum extent.

Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi contested Desai's arguments. He submitted that Section 17A was not applicable in a situation of a court-ordered investigation.

The top court heard arguments in the matter for close to two hours. Concluding the hearing, the bench told Desai it is not keen on entertaining the petition.

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