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CBI books Anil Deshmukh’s lawyer for trying to influence probe against him

The CBI has registered an FIR against the lawyer of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh for allegedly trying to influence the Bombay High-Court directed preliminary enquiry into corruption allegations against the leader, officials said Wednesday. The CBI Wednesday also questioned lawyer Anand Daga for allegedly trying to pay “illegal gratification” a sub-inspector-rank officer of the agency to “subvert the preliminary enquiry”, they said,

A report of preliminary enquiry purportedly giving clean chit to Deshmukh was leaked Saturday night.

The CBI started a probe into the leakage which has so far revealed that Deshmukh’s team allegedly tried to influence the conduct of PE against him by paying illegal gratification to a sub-inspector ranked officer of the agency, the officials said.

The central agency Wednesday examined Deshmukh’s son-in-law Gaurav Chaturvedi and lawyer Anand Daga in over its probe after which an FIR was registered, they said.

The CBI did not find Chaturvedi’s involvement so far and he was allowed to go, they said.

“Attempt of Anil Deshmukh’s team were in contempt of Bombay High Court which had directed that all concerned should fully cooperate with the CBI while conducting the PE. In this case it has appeared that Deshmukh’s team tried to subvert the PE,” an official told PTI.

Their attempt could not succeed as there is a procedure in the CBI in which evidences on record and legal opinion is also taken on record before the registration of the FIR, he said.

“They could not influence people at higher level,” he said.

The CBI had started a PE on the orders of the Bombay High Court which had issued the direction while hearing a public interest litigation on allegations of corruption against Deshmukh.

The claimed PE findings which were leaked showed the Deputy SP probing the matter had purportedly opined that no cognisable offence was made out against Deshmukh.

It was later converted into an FIR based on a contrasting opinion of the Deputy SP. The opinion mentioned in the FIR said that cognisable offence is made out against Deshmukh.

“The Preliminary Enquiry prima facie revealed that a cognisable offence is made out in the matter, wherein the then Home minister of Maharashtra, Shri Anil Deshmukh and unknown others have attempted to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of their public duty,” the CBI FIR alleged.

In the FIR, the CBI had booked Deshmukh and others unidentified under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and section of Prevention of Corruption Act for “attempt to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of public duty.”

Allegations against Deshmukh had surfaced after the removal of Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

He was removed after the role of a policemen Sachin Waze surfaced into the case of an explosive-laden SUV which was found parked outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani. Waze was arrested by the NIA.

In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, after his removal, Singh had alleged Deshmukh had asked Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants of Mumbai, they said.

The FIR alleged that Deshmukh “and others” exercised undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials.

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