Senior police officer Param Bir Singh can not avoid probe against him in criminal cases on the ground that it was the fall-out of his complaint against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, the Maharashtra government argued before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar was hearing a petition filed by Mr Singh challenging two preliminary inquiries against him, one for alleged dereliction of duty and misconduct and another for alleged corruption.
When the court asked about the progress of the two inquiries, additional public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik said both the inquiries were still going on.
Mr Singh's lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said the former Mumbai police commissioner has not received any summons or notice about these inquiries so far.
Senior counsel Darius Khambata, appearing for the state government, said Mr Singh's petition cannot be heard by the high court in the first place as it was a "service matter", and should be heard by an administrative tribunal.
"The petition raised issues that are squarely covered under the provisions of the Administrative Tribunals Act and is purely a service matter," he said.
Mr Khambata also termed as "bogus" the contention that the government's action was a form of vendetta for accusing Deshmukh of corruption.
"Just because you have made some allegations against Anil Deshmukh does not immunize you from any action," he said.
The enquiries were initiated following a complaint by inspector Anup Dange, the lawyer said.
"The complaint was given on February 2, 2021…before all this drama unfolded…before Singh wrote a complaint to the Chief Minister against Deshmukh," Mr Khambata said.
"He (Singh) claims he has a cloak of immunity. In all matters he takes this defense. This is completely wrong. The complaints against him are serious and no one is above the law," the state's lawyer argued.
Mr Jethmalani argued that the preliminary inquiries were set up hastily. It was "obvious from the circumstances that the inquiries were out of condemnation and vendetta," he said.
"Singh complained against Anil Deshmukh and instead of inquiring into that the state government has punished the whistleblower... They are trying to shoot the messenger and terrorizing the whistleblower," Mr Jethmalani argued.
Senior counsel Navroz Seervai, appearing for Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey, sought dismissal of the petition.
"The allegations leveled in the petition against Pandey are completely false and is nothing but an attempt by the petitioner to dishonestly trap the DGP who is an outstanding officer," Mr Seervai argued.