Delhi High Court dismisses bail pleas of CBI official, lawyer in corruption case

The High Court said it was not inclined to grant the relief as the investigation is at its initial stage.

The Delhi High Court has dismissed bail pleas of CBI official Abhishek Tiwari and an advocate, who were arrested in connection with an alleged leak of the probe agency’s preliminary inquiry report in a corruption case against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

The High Court said it was not inclined to grant the relief as the investigation is at its initial stage.

It said it is settled law that the court has to keep in mind not only the nature of accusations but also if there exists reasonable apprehension of the evidence being tampered with, the bail may be refused.

“The allegation in the present FIR is rather based on tampering of the evidence; thus considering the initial stage of investigation, I am not inclined to grant bail to the petitioners herein, at this stage. The petition(s) stands dismissed,” Justice Yogesh Khanna said.

The court passed a common order on the bail pleas of Mr. Tiwari and Nagpur-based advocate Anand Dilip Daga.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had registered a case against its sub-inspector Tiwari, advocate Daga, who was working as a lawyer for Mr. Deshmukh and others on various allegations, including illegal gratification.

Daga was arrested for allegedly trying to subvert the Bombay High Court-directed preliminary enquiry against Mr. Deshmukh.

The counsel for the two accused submitted that only four days remand was given to the CBI and thereafter, the trial court had refused further remand and that the two men are in custody for 40 days and the agency did not even file an application for interviewing them, hence are not required for further investigation and they be granted bail.

The CBI, however, opposed the bail pleas, saying the offences committed by the two men are serious in nature and no investigation can proceed if the lawyer of the accused and the investigating officer join hands to benefit someone.

The CBI said the allegations are serious and release of the accused may become detrimental to a fair investigation.

The investigation is still at its initial stage and the accused may influence the investigation and tamper with the evidence and shall stall the proceedings, if allowed to be released on bail at this stage, it said.

Tiwari and Daga had challenged the trial court’s order rejecting their bail pleas.

A report of the preliminary enquiry (PE) purportedly giving clean chit to Mr. Deshmukh was leaked earlier causing embarrassment to the agency.

The CBI started a probe into the leakage in which it emerged that findings of the PE were influenced.

“Attempts by Anil Deshmukh’s team were in contempt of the 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 Mr. Deshmukh’s team tried to subvert the PE,” the CBI had 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 Mr. Deshmukh.

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

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

He was removed after the alleged role of policeman Sachin Vaze surfaced in the case of an explosive-laden SUV, which was found parked outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani. Vaze was arrested by the National Investigation Agency.

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

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