The Central Bureau of Investigation has initiated a preliminary inquiry against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh to probe allegations of corruption levelled against him by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Deshmukh had resigned as the Maharashtra home minister on April 5 after the Bombay High Court directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry.
Subsequently, on Tuesday, a team of the central probe agency landed in Mumbai and collected all relevant documents, and initiated the preliminary probe in compliance with the high court's order.
Criminal public interest litigation seeking a CBI probe was filed against Deshmukh by Singh, who claimed that the NCP leader had asked police officers to extort Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants. Deshmukh has denied any wrongdoing.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni had said on Monday this was an "extraordinary" and "unprecedented" case that warranted an independent inquiry. The bench had said Singh's allegations against Deshmukh had put at stake the citizen's faith in the state police.
Such allegations, made by a serving police officer, against the state home minister could not be left unattended, and were required to be probed into, if prima facie, they made a case of a cognisable offence, the high court said.
The Maharashtra government and Deshmukh have moved to the Supreme Court, challenging the high court order and raised questions over the integrity of the central probe agency and its impact on the country's federal structure.
(With PTI inputs)Also read: India records highest-ever single-day spike of 1.07 lakh coronavirus cases