Former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh, in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday, accused Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of indulging in “malpractices” and asking inspector Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore a month.
“The Hon’ble Home Minister expressed to Waze that he had a target to accumulate Rs 100 crore a month. For achieving the aforesaid target, the Home Minister told Waze that there are 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,” the letter read.
In the letter, the former Mumbai Police Commissioner also wrote that he had apprised CM Thackeray about the happenings during a meeting with him at Varsha, the official residence of Thackeray.
“At one of the briefing sessions in the wake of the 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’ble Home Minister. I have similarly briefed the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister, Maharashtra, the President of the Nationalist Congress Party, Shri Sharad Pawar and other senior Ministers also about the misdeeds and malpractices,” Singh said.
Elaborating on the allegations, Singh added, “Sachin Vaze, who was heading the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police, was called by Anil Deshmukh to his official residence Dyaneshwar several times in the last few months and was repeatedly instructed to assist in the collection of funds.”
Deshmukh, however, denied the allegations saying the former Commissioner of Police is trying to “save himself as the involvement of Sachin Waze in Mukesh Ambani and Mansukh Hiren’s case is becoming clearer from the investigation carried out so far and threads are leading to Singh as well”. He added that he will file a defamation suit against him if the former Mumbai Police chief cannot prove the allegations.
“This is a conspiracy by Param Bir Singh to derail the investigation into the explosives case and the suspicious death of Mansukh Hiren. The Chief Minister should conduct an impartial inquiry into the allegations. It is an attempt to defame me and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government,” Deshmukh said.
In a statement, Deshmukh also asked why Singh was keeping silent for so long, and alleged that the IPS officer, shunted out from the post of city police commissioner on Wednesday, was only trying to save his own skin in the Sachin Waze case. “Sensing trouble in the explosives case, Singh has leveled baseless allegations to blackmail the government,” the minister added.
Reacting to the development, former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis demanded Deshmukh’s resignation. “If he does not resign, the Chief Minister must remove him. Impartial probe must be conducted. The letter also states that CM Uddhav Thackeray was intimated about this earlier. If so, why didn’t he act on it?” the Leader of Opposition asked.
Waze was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on March 13 over his alleged involvement in the February 25 bomb scare outside Antilia, the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.
Waze, who was in the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU), was virtually leading the investigation into the security scare outside Antilia. While there was no breakthrough in the case, startling allegations made by former chief minister Fadnavis introduced a fresh twist, which put Waze front and centre in the mystery.
Fadnavis alleged that Waze had been in frequent touch with Mansukh Hiren, a Thane man with a car decor business who had been in possession of the vehicle that sparked the scare outside Ambani’s house. On the same day as Fadnavis made these allegations, Hiren’s body was found floating in Kalwa creek. His wife alleged that Waze was behind Hiren’s murder. She also alleged that the Scorpio had been with Waze for several months until February 5 this year.
With allegations swirling about his role, the NIA questioned him for nearly 12 hours on Saturday, prior to his arrest.
(With inputs from PTI)