Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh reached the DRDO guest house in Santacruz east around 10.15am on Tuesday, for questioning by a team of officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the corruption allegations levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. The marathon interrogation session went on for close to 9 hours, with Deshmukh reportedly leaving by 9.15pm.
The agency had issued summons to Deshmukh on Monday, after it had questioned two of his personal assistants -- Kundan Shinde and Sanjeev Palande -- on Sunday.
“We completed the process of recording Deshmukh’s statement by around 7pm. We were to corroborate information provided by Singh and Vaze with Deshmukh. We would not like to comment or share any information about the enquiries made with Deshmukh, as a report has to be submitted before the court,” said a CBI official.
On Monday, the CBI team had made enquiries with Assistant Commissioner of Police Sanjay Patil for the second time in connection with the matter, sources said.
Singh, in his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last month, had charged that “Sachin Vaze, who was heading the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police, was called by Deshmukh to his official residence Dnyaneshwari several times in the last few months and repeatedly instructed to assist in collection of funds for the home minister”. In and around mid-February and thereafter, the home minister had called Vaze to his official residence. At that time, one or two members of Deshmukh’s staff, including his personal secretary, Palande, had also been present. The home minister had expressed to Vaze that he had a target of accumulating Rs 100 crore a month, Param Bir Singh had further alleged.
“For achieving the aforesaid target, the home minister told Vaze that there were about 1,750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai and if a sum of Rs. 2-3 lakh each was collected from each of them, a monthly collection of Rs. 40-50 crore was achievable. The home minister added that the rest of the collection could be made from other sources,” Param Bir Singh had further claimed.
Later, Param Bir Singh had moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe, but the court had asked him to approach Bombay High Court. While the Bombay high court dismissed Param Bir Singh’s petition, it took into consideration a PIL filed by Advocate Jaishri Patil, which too had sought a CBI probe against Deshmukh. On April 5, the Bombay high court had ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the allegations levelled against Deshmukh and to submit a report within 15 days.
The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry the next day and began its enquiry. But Deshmukh had denied all the allegations made by Singh and moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay high court’s order. The state of Maharashtra too had moved the Supreme Court, but Supreme Court did not give any relief to either Deshmukh or the state.
A team of CBI officials have till now, recorded the statements of Param Bir Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement) Raju Bhujbal, ACP Sanjay Patil and Vaze, in connection with the allegations.
The probe team had also recorded the statement of Advocate Jaishri Patil. The agency had also recorded statements of a Kandivli bar owner and two drivers of Vaze.