Updated on: Saturday, December 04, 2021, 11:04 PM IST

Param Bir Singh extortion case: Charges added as probe found witness threatened with false cases, says crime branch in chargesheet

Param Bir Singh | File

Param Bir Singh | File


In the first chargesheet filed against former city police commissioner Param Bir Singh in an extortion case, the crime branch has added offences, after it was learnt that witnesses were threatened to be booked in ‘false cases’.

Additional charges invoked are section 388 (extortion by threat of accusation of an offence) and section 399 (putting person in fear of accusation of an offence, in order to commit extortion). During the investigation, it was found that the complainant’s friend, who is a witness, was made to shell out Rs 35 lakh by threatening to arrest him in a case.

Initially the complaint lodged by hotelier Bimal Agarwal, Singh, Vaze and others had been booked on charges relating to extortion. As per the businessman’s complaint, the accused had extorted him of Rs. 11.92 lakhs to let his resto-bars in the city’s western suburbs run smoothly. On Saturday, the chargesheet was filed in a magistrate court against Singh, dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze, Alpesh Patel and Sumit Singh, while two persons - Riyaz Bhati and Vinay Singh have been shown as absconding accused. While Vaze is in judicial custody in another case, Patel and Singh are on bail.

In its around 450 page chargesheet, it has said that during investigation it found that Vaze along with other accused threatened one Manan Naik, Agarwal’s friend with arrest in a case lodged with the property cell, when he had no connection with it. Vaze thus extorted Rs. 35 lakhs from Naik and raided his establishment and lodged a case, to do so, it has been established in its probe, it said. It said thus, it had added the charges of Sec 388 and Sec 389 of the IPC.

The witness Naik has stated that his friend Manoj Metro had informed him that he has been named as a wanted accused in a case lodged at the property cell related to bookies though he had no connection with it. Hence he had spoken with his friend Bimal Agarwal and Agarwal had spoken with Vaze. Agarwal told him that Vaze said he was under a lot of pressure from the police commissioner Param Bir Singh and that Naik would be arrested in it, or he would have to shell out Rs. 2 crores. Naik, in his statement has told the crime branch that Agarwal and Vaze spoke a lot on this and finally it was decided that he would pay Rs. 35 lakhs through the angadiya service of Alpesh Patel to avoid arrest. In Oct last year, he paid the money at Patel’s Malad office, he said in his statement.

The crime branch said it has collected 69 whatsapp audio recordings between Naik, Agarwal and Vaze. The chargesheet also contains the statement of a police inspector Kedari Pawar who was incharge at the property cell. The policeman has said in his statement that after the bookie case was lodged, Vaze called him to his Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) office and in presence of Agarwal, had told him that the CP had given him a target of collection from bookies and that Naik was named among them. The policeman says Vaze told him not to give trouble to Naik as there was a settlement of Rs. 35 lakhs finalized with Naik.

While Vaze had told the ED probing the money laundering case against Deshmukh, that No. 1 referred to Deshmukh, a number of witnesses in the chargesheet including hotel and bar owners have stated that by No. 1, Vaze referred to the then CP Singh, as also police witnesses.

The chargesheet also contains the statement of suspended police inspector Sunil Mane as a witness, who is Vaze’s co-accused in the Antilia bomb scare case. Among its witnesses is ACP Sanjay Patil, who also figures as a witness in Deshmukh’s money laundering case. The ACP has said in his statement that during a meeting with hotel and bar owners, Vaze had said that No. 1, that is, the CP, had given him a target of collecting Rs. 2 crores daily. He has said further that ‘No 1’ meant Param Bir Singh.

The crime branch has recorded the statements of five witnesses before a magistrate and of seven under video-recording.

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Published on: Sunday, December 05, 2021, 07:05 AM IST