There was a confidential meeting between NCP leaders and later on with the Shiv Sena leaders. Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari accepting the resignation of Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and handed over the charge of the key department to cabinet minister Dilip Walse Patil of the NCP has not gone well with the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Meanwhile, Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to cancel a preliminary CBI probe into allegations of corruption ordered against him. The Bombay High Court on Monday sought the probe based on charges levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. A team of the investigating agency was to reach Mumbai on Tuesday to initiate the process.
The NCP is a key constituent in the Shiv Sena-led MVA government in which the Congress is the third ally. Somehow the saffron loyalist Param Bir Singh switched his loyalties when Deshmukh removed him as CP, in his plea filed on March 25, sought such a probe against Deshmukh who, he claimed, had asked police officers, including suspended cop Sachin Vaze, to extort ₹ 100 crores from bars and restaurants. Vaze has been arrested by the NIA in connection with the probe into the explosive-laden SUV found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai.
Even though the High Court questioned Singh for not filing a case against Deshmukh till then, it said a probe by an independent agency was necessary to “instil public confidence and safeguard the fundamental rights of the citizens”. The High Court had called the situation arising out of Singh’s petition “extraordinary” and “unprecedented”, warranting an independent inquiry.
Within hours of the High Court order on Monday, Deshmukh resigned, citing “moral grounds”. Singh’s petition also accused Deshmukh of corruption in police transfers and postings. Both he and his party, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party has denied the allegations. They have said that Singh, removed from the Mumbai Commissioner’s post over the alleged mishandling of the Ambani bomb-scare case, was trying to divert attention from his own dealings.
In his letter to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Singh wrote, “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 Dyaneshwar several times in last few months and repeatedly instructed to assist in the collection of funds for the Home Minister.”.
The letter continued, “The Hon’ble Home Minister expressed to Vaze that he had a target to accumulate Rs. 100 crores a month. For achieving the aforesaid target Vaze was told 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 3 them, a monthly collection of Rs. 40-50 crores were achievable.”
Singh also mentioned in his letter that a similar demand was made by Anil Deshmukh office to other officials. Singh claims that one Palande, Personal secretary to Deshmukh had called two senior officials one DCP Bhujbal and ACP Sanjay Patil of the Social Service Branch to Deshmukh where they were also given the same targets by Palande. Param Bir writes that the Police officers involved informed him about the demands made by the Home Minister.
He had attached verbatim conversations of his chats with his police officials to show that Deshmukh was demanding money. “Param Bir Singh on (16th March 2021, 4:59 pm) to ACP Patil- Patil how many bars and other establishments did HM sir and Palande mentions to you when you had met them in Feb. And what was the total expected collection they mentioned?”
Further, Param Bir asks Patil whether Vaze had informed him about why he was called. ACP Patil in a message to the then Mumbai CP – ACP Patil (19th March 2021, 9:12 pm): “The purpose of the meeting was, he told me that 1750 establishment in Mumbai, he should collect Rs. 3 lakh per establishment for him also, which will be around 40 to 50 cr.”
Interestingly the former Mumbai CP also claims that the Mumbai Police does not have jurisdiction in the death of Dadra Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar case. Delkar was found dead at a hotel in Mumbai’s Marine Drive, on February 22. However, he was overruled by Deshmukh despite the legal opinion being that the Dadra Nagar Haveli police filed the case.
Param Bir claims that he has been ‘made a scapegoat to divert attention from the actual wrong doers’. Singh also asserted that he has nothing to do with Vaze and has asked the Chief Minister to check Vaze’s and his phone records for the same. The call records and phone data of Shri S’achin Vaze are examined to ascertain the truth of the allegations and for the truth to emerge insofar as his association with political functionaries is concerned.
The opposition took advantage of the entire episode, as they never liked Anil Deshmukh as home minister. Well! Deshmukh should face the investigations and let the truth come out at the same time CBI should take Param Bir Singh in custody and start investigating his political motives.
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