A new bench of the Supreme Court will now hear the petition filed by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh for a CBI inquiry into his complaint against Mumbai Police threatening him to withdraw his graft charge against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.

On Tuesday, when the matter came up before a Vacation Bench of justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai, the latter said, “I cannot hear the matter.” For Singh, senior advocate Puneet Bali appeared and opened arguments claiming that a witch-hunt is on against him ever since he write a complaint on March 20 to the chief minister exposing the “money collection scheme” run by Deshmukh.

The bench, without going into the merits of the case, directed the petition to be listed before another bench in view of the reservation expressed by Justice Gavai. No reason was cited by the judge for not hearing the matter.

In his complaint dated March 20 this year, Singh had accused Deshmukh of running a “money collection scheme” through the police department. The complaint was made three days after Singh was transferred to a low-key post in Mumbai Police’s Home Guards. The transfer was in the wake of Singh’s alleged mishandling of a case in which explosives were found in an abandoned vehicle outside Mukesh Ambani’s Antilia residence in Mumbai, and the subsequent arrest of suspended police officer Sachin Vaze in the case.

CBI is already investigating Singh’s complaint but is yet to file a final report.

In his latest plea filed through advocate Natasha Dalmia, Singh has accused Mumbai Police’s inquiry officer of threatening to foist “multiple injuries and investigations” on him if he does not withdraw his complaint against Deshmukh. This allegation formed part of a representation made by Singh with the CBI on April 19 with which he attached the transcript of his conversation with the said officer as evidence.

The petitioner has further requested the apex court to direct the Maharashtra government and Mumbai Police to transfer all inquiries already ordered or under contemplation against him to an independent investigation agency outside the state or preferably the CBI. The former top cop has also demanded blanket protection against any inquiry or coercive action by police.

Singh had earlier moved the apex court in March this year, asking for an independent probe to expose the alleged malpractices of Deshmukh before he could get any chance to destroy evidence. The court had refused to entertain his plea and asked Singh to approach Bombay high court instead.

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