In a shocking revelation, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in a letter, which is dated March 20 and unsigned, to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has alleged that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had asked suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore for him every month. After Singh’s disclosure the Shiv Sena led Maha Vikas Aghadi government is precariously placed and its survival is uncertain. However, a section of MVA admits that BJP led government at the Centre may impose the President Rule.
There is a possibility of realignment of forces as BJP will swing into action to encash the situation by luring disgruntled elements from three ruling parties to form the government in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, former CM Devendra Fadnavis demanded Deshmukh's resignation. Reacting strongly against the NCP leader, Fadnavis said, "We demand Home Minister's resignation. If he doesn't then CM must remove him. Impartial probe must be conducted..Letter also states that CM was intimated about this earlier so why didn't he act on it?"
NCP is expected to ask Deshmukh to resign to silence the opposition. On top of it, Singh’s allegations in the explosive letter against Deshmukh has caused a major embarrassment for NCP Chief Sharad Pawar as he had picked him for the post of Home Minister while not considering stalwarts like Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse Patil.
Singh in a letter claims "Sachin Vaze who was heading the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police was called by Shri Anil Deshmukh, Hon'ble Home Minister, Maharashtra to his official residence Dyaneshwari several times in last few months and repeatedly instructed to assist in collection of funds for the Hon'ble Home Minister."
He further notes, "In and around mid-February and thereafter, the Hon'ble Home Minister had called Shri Vaze to his official residence. At that time, one or two staff members of the Hon'ble Home Minister including his Personal Secretary, Mr. Palande, were also present. The Hon'ble Home Minister expressed to Shri Vaze that he had a target to accumulate Rs. 100 crores a month."
Hours after Singh’s letter was surfaced, Deshmukh denied all charges and tweeted, ‘’ The former Commissioner of Police, Parambir Singh has made false allegations in order to save himself as the involvement of Sachin Waze in Mukesh Ambani & Mansukh Hiren’s case is becoming clearer from the investigation carried out so far & threads are leading to Mr Singh as well.’’
Singh further says, ‘’ For achieving the Rs 100 crore target, the Hon Home Minister told Shri Vaze that there are about 1,750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai and if a sum of Rs 2-3 lakhs each was collected from each of them, a monthly collection of Rs 40-50 crore was achievable. The Hon Home Minister added that the rest of the collection could be made from other sources.’’ He adds, ‘’Shri Vaze came to my office the same day and informed me of the above. I was shocked with the above discussions and was mulling over how to deal with the situation,’’ he says.
According to Singh, a few days later Shri Sanjay Patil, ACP, Social Service Branch, was called by Deshmukh at his official residence to hold discussions about the hookah parlours in Mumbai. The meeting was attended by other officers and Deshmukh’s Personal Secretary Sanjay Palande. Two days later, Shri Patil along with DCP Bhujbal were called and Palande informed them Deshmukh was targeting a collection of rs 40-50 crore which was possible through an approximate 1750 bars, restaurants and establishments operating in Mumbai. ‘’I was informed by ACP Patil about the demand to make collections for the Hon Home Minister,’’ he says.
‘’The Hon Home Minister has as a regular practice been repeatedly calling my officers and giving them instructions in respect of the course to be followed by them in performance of their official duties. Hon Home Minister w has been calling my officers at his official residence bypassing me and other superior officers of the Police Department to whom those respective Police Officers report to. The Hon HM has been instructing them to carry out official assignments and collection schemes including financial transactions as per his instructions based on his expectations and targets to collect money. These corrupt malpractices have been brought to my notice by my officers,’’ says Singh.
‘’At one the briefing sessions in the wake of Antilia incident held in mid March 2021 when I was called late evening at Varsha to brief you, I had pointed out several misdeeds and malpractices being indulged into by the Hon HM, I have similarly briefed the Hon Deputy Chief Minister, the President of the Nationalist Congress Party Shri Sharad Pawar and other senior ministers. On my briefings, I noticed that some of the Ministers were already aware about some aspects mentioned by me to them,’’ he notes.
"On a collective appraisal of events that have transpired and what is being pointed out by me makes it clear that I have been made a scapegoat to divert attention from the actual wrongdoers," says Singh.
In these circumstances, the assertions of the Hon'ble Home Minister to the effect that my transfer is not for administrative or routine reasons, I have conducted serious lapses and the serious lapses in the investigation committed by me are unpardonable are all statements contrary to the record and seem to be for extraneous and vindictive reasons," notes Singh.
On Mohan Delkar Death Case
Singh says an appropriate investigation was being undertaken by the Marine Drive Police Department in the death of Dadra & Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar. The Marine Drive Police Station reported accident death report. ‘’However, from day one, the Hon HM desired a case of abetment of suicide to be registered at Mumbai. My professional view after seeking appropriate legal advice was that while the suicide had occurred in Mumbai, all the alleged acts of abetment had taken place in Dadra & Nagar Haveli. Thus, the abetment of suicide, if any, was required to be investigated by the Police at Dadra & Nagar Haveli who would have jurisdiction in that regard,’’ he adds.
‘’You will recollect that in a briefing held at Varsha soon after the incident in the presence of Hon HM and several other officials, after I drew attention of all concerned about my view, there was general agreement that the alleged acts of abetment could only be investigated by the Police at Dadra & Nagar Haveli,’’ says Singh.
‘’Dutybound to do so, I held to my professional view as advised by legal experts. The Hon HM kept insisting otherwise despite having been informed by me about the opinion of legal experts on this issue. Due to my resistance, the Hon HM was unhappy with me as the political mileage desired to be derived from the registration of the abetment of suicide case in Mumbai in the death of Delkar against senior officials of Dadra & Nagar Haveli was not being achieved,’’ says Singh.
Despite this, Deshmukh announced the setting up of a Special Investigation team (SIT) and registration of an FIR into the alleged case of abetment of suicide of late Delkar, says Singh.
‘’It has been my experience during the last more than one year as CP, Mumbai that the Hon HM has on numerous occasions called several officers from Mumbai Police to his official residence at Dyaneshwari for giving instructions to adopt a specific course of action in police investigations. These acts of political interference are illegal and unconstitutional and Courts in our country including the Hon Supreme Court of India have in the past come down heavily on such acts of interference in police investigations. In the event of my expressing reservations against the interference from the Hon HM and resistance from me in that regard the Hon HM has found my reservations and resistance undesirable,’’ he claims.
‘’I may humbly submit that I take full responsibility of my police force. However, the instances of interference make it clear that the responsibility of wrongdoing may lie somewhere else- at the door of the wrongdoers,’’ he opines.