Recently shunted Mumbai top cop, Param Bir Singh has alleged that Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had tasked suspended police officer Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore for him every month. The allegations against Deshmukh were made by Singh in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The letter comes days after Param Bir Singh was unceremoniously removed as the Mumbai police commissioner and posted as the director general Home Guards. Singh's removal, was viewed as a fail safe move by the Maharashtra government with allegations rife about the involvement of police officer Sachin Vaze in the explosives found outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani's case and and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, the owner of the car which carried the explosives.
Singh in his letter addressed directly to Thackeray, mentions the subject as 'untruthful statements by Home Minister, Maharashtra in relation to the transfer of Param Bir Singh...". He goes on to refer to recent interview of Deshmukh published in Lokmat, claiming the home minister made allegations against him. Singh writes that Deshmukh alleged, "...there were serious lapses committed at my office, by the Mumbai Police and me in the investigation of the Antilia incident; (b) my serious lapses are not pardonable; and, (c) my transfer is not on administrative grounds"
He then goes to allege that when Vaze who was heading the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police was called by Deshmukh to his official residence and repeatedly asked to assist in collection of funds for the Home Minister. "In and around mid-February and thereafter, the Hon'ble Home Minister had called Shri Vaze to his official residence. At that time, one or two staff members of the Hon'ble Home Minister including his Personal Secretary, Mr. Palande, were also present." He adds, "The Hon'ble Home Minister expressed to Shri Vaze that he had a target to accumulate Rs. 100 crores a month. For achieving the aforesaid target, the Hon'ble Home Minsiter told Shri Vaze 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 them, a monthly collection of Rs. 40-50 crores was achievable. The Hon'ble Home Minister added that the rest of the collection could be made from other sources." He explains that he came to in knowledge of this information from Vaze himself, who came to his office on the same day as meeting Deshmukh.
He then talks about another meeting held by Deshmukh on March 4, 2021 with Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Social Service Branch (which keeps a check on bars and such establishments), Sanjay Patil and DCP Bhujbal about hookah parlous and bars. He writes, "...Palande informed ACP Patil that the Hon'ble Home Minister was targeting a collection of Rs. 40-50 crores which was possible through an approximate 1,750 bars, restaurants and establishments operating in Mumbai. I was informed by ACP Patil about the demand to make collections for the Hon'ble Home Minister." He adds that it was Patil who informed him about the meeting and to support the same has included in the letter, text conversations between him and ACP Patil.
Below is a screenshot from the letter about the text messages from Patil to Singh:
He goes on to allege that this is a routine practice Deshmukh follows with several Mumbai police officers asking them to indulge in "corrupt malpractices".
"The Hon'ble Home Minister has as a regular practice been repeatedly calling my officers and giving them instructions in respect of the course to be followed by them in performance of their official duties. The Hon'ble Home Minster has been instructing them to carry out official assignments and collection schemes including financial transactions as per his instructions based on his expectations and targets to collect money. These corrupt malpractices have been brought to my notice by my officers," Singh wrote in his letter.
He goes on to the refer to Mohan Delkar, a Member of Parliament from Dadra and Nagar Haveli who died in a suspected case of suicide in a Mumbai hotel. Delkar is said to have allegedly named several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in his suicide note and the case was being investigated by Marine Drive police station in Mumbai. To this, Singh alleges that Deshmukh "desired" that Mumbai police register a case of abetment of suicide opposing his view that while the suicide had occured in Mumbai, the alleged acts of abetment were in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and any investigation into the same was not Mumbai police's jurisdiction. He writes, that Deshmukh kept "insisting" that Mumbai register and investigate even the abement of suicide case calling it a case of, "political mileage desired to be derived". He adds that his resistance to do the same led to Deshmukh being "unhappy" with him.
Singh writes, "Despite being fully aware of the opinion of the legal experts, the general opinion and the reasons behind it, the Hon'ble Home Minister announced the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and registration of an FIR into the alleged case of abetment of suicide of late Shri Mohan Delkar, Member of Parliament, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, on the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly on 9th March 2021."
He goes on to mention that Deshmukh allegedly would repeatedly meet with police officers and give them "specific instructions" for investigations. Calling them, illegal and constitutional acts of "political interference" he says that resistance to the same by Singh was viewed as undesirable by Deshmukh.
Singh also claims that he had been made a scapegoat to divert attention, alleging that the responsibility of wrongdoings was possibly somewhere else. "It is not out of place to mention that there is no iota of material or evidence – far from proof – found against me or even imputed against me. Except for conjectures, surmises and pure speculation, no detail of any sort against me has been noticed by anybody..." He ends the letter saying, that he is fully aware that his letter will likely cause "retaliation for placing the true picture on record" but he does so to apprise CM Thackeray of the true picture.
While several have raised questions about the letter, which is not signed by Singh, Home Minister Deshmukh acknowleged the same on his official Twitter handle. Deshmukh tweeted, saying Singh had false allegations to save himself as investigations into Vaze vis-a-vis the explosive found outside Ambani's residence case and the alleged murder of Hiran could possibly lead to Singh.
Despite repeated attempts, Param Bir Singh was not available for a comment on the letter and its contents.