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Was pressured to reinstate Sachin Vaze by Maha CM Uddhav Thackeray, Anil Deshmukh: Param Bir Singh



Singh also claimed that he had also informed NCP chief Sharad Pawar about the “misdeeds” of Deshmukh in March 2021

Param Bir Singh. File pic

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, who is facing money laundering allegations, in his statement to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday, said he informed Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and other ministers about the “misdeeds and malpractices” of the then home minister Anil Deshmukh and they seemed to be aware of the same.

He also alleged that he was pressured into reinstating suspended police officer Sachin Vaze in the police force by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and Anil Deshmukh when he was holding the Home portfolio. Singh also claimed that he had also informed NCP chief Sharad Pawar about the “misdeeds” of Deshmukh in March 2021.

His statement is part of the chargesheet submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a special court against Deshmukh and two of his former aides Sanjeev Palande and Kundan Shinde. Dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze is an approver in the case. Deshmukh has been accused of corruption and the misuse of his official position. “I met the Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) on several occasions in March 2021 and even prior to that when I briefed him about the misdeeds of the HM (home minister Anil Deshmukh),” Singh said in his statement.

“I say that there was a meeting at ‘Varsha’ between March 4 to 15, 2021, in which I briefed him about the acts of the HM. However, the CM merely said that he (Deshmukh) was my home minister,” the senior IPS officer said. ‘Varsha’ is the official residence of the state chief minister in Mumbai. Singh added that he had also informed NCP chief Sharad Pawar about the “misdeeds” of Deshmukh in March 2021, as the home minister belonged to the NCP and Pawar, as the chief of the NCP, had control over him.

“I have also raised the issue of malpractices by Deshmukh to ministers Ajit Pawar, Anil Parab and Jayant Patil,” the statement quoted him as telling the CBI. “I say that the CM, Ajit Pawar and Anil Parab seemed to be aware of these malpractices. They did not confirm their knowledge in words but from their reactions, I could make out that they already knew,” Singh said. The senior IPS officer further stated that it was not true that he had made these allegations (of corruption) against Deshmukh after he was shunted from the post of Mumbai commissioner of police.

The allegations and Opposition outcry forced Deshmukh to step down as the home minister. Deshmukh is currently in jail in a money laundering case. “I had already briefed the CM, Pawar and other ministers about these malpractices and misdeeds by the HM. It was the HM who was vindictive and raised false allegations of lapses in the ‘Antilia’ bomb scare investigations against me for his own political gains,” Singh said.

On why Sachin Vaze was reinstated in the police force, Singh said one Suraj Chauhan, the personal assistant to Aaditya Thackeray (Shiv Sena minister and son of Uddhav Thackeray), had met him and pressured him to reinstate VAZE. Singh said he spoke to Aaditya Thackeray about the same who then asked him to speak to the CM. “When I spoke to the CM, he asked me to reinstate VAZE. My decision to reinstate VAZE was due to the pressure put on me by the CM and the HM,” Singh said.

As per the CBI, Vaze, who is now an approver in the case, in his statement said that despite handing over Rs 4.70 crore (collected from bars and restaurant owners) to Deshmukh’s associates, Deshmukh was angry about less collection of money. “VAZE in his statement said that Deshmukh had told him (VAZE) that there are 1,750 bars in Mumbai and if at least Rs 3 lakh is collected from each one of them then an amount of Rs 40 to 50 crore ought to be collected (sic),” the chargesheet said.

Vaze further said that Deshmukh had asked him to pay Rs 2 crore for his re-induction into the police force. As per the statement of a bar owner, VAZE in a meeting held with bar owners had informed that each of them would have to pay Rs 3 lakh if they do not want to face any police action. The bar owner stated that as per Vaze the money was meant for the police and “Number 1”.

“I had never asked Vaze who Number 1 was but in common parlance, the Commissioner of Police is considered the Number 1 in the police hierarchy,” the bar owner told CBI. Vaze said he had given Deshmukh the code name ‘Number 1’. The CBI chargesheet also includes the statements of several other bar owners who have claimed that they were asked to pay money each month by Vaze to avoid police action.

The CBI also relied on the statement of ACP Sanjay Patil who was told by Vaze about Deshmukh’s demand to collect Rs 40 to 50 crore each month from bars. “When I asked Vaze why was he doing this (collecting money), Vaze told me he was doing this for Number 1. When I asked him who Number 1 was, he (VAZE) said it was the Commissioner of Police. However, the code name for the CP Mumbai in wireless communication is ‘King’,” Patil said in his statement.

(With inputs from PTI)



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