A DAY after former police commissioner Param Bir Singh told a state government-appointed commission of inquiry that his allegations against former minister Anil Deshmukh were “hearsay”, dismissed assistant police inspector Sachin Waze told the commission that Deshmukh’s private secretary had never demanded that he make money collections on behalf of the minister.
Sanjeev Palande, an assistant collector level officer, who was working in Deshmukh’s office as his private secretary, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in June this year during its investigation into money laundering charges against Deshmukh, parallel to the CBI probe into Param Bir Singh’s charges against the minister that he had set Waze monthly collection targets of up to Rs 100 cr from bars and restaurants.
Singh had also mentioned Palande conveying the demand for money to two other police officials. In its remand application, the ED had said that Palande was coordinating with Waze and two other police officials named by Param Bir Singh in his “open letter” to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, for money collections from owners of nearly 2,000 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
On Wednesday, Waze during his cross-examination by Palade’s lawyer Shekhar Jagtap before the Maharashtra government-appointed Justice (retired) KU Chandiwal Commission said that while he had met Palande at Deshmukh’s official residence in February, Palande had never demanded any money from him.
On Tuesday, the lawyer of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had told the commission that the allegations made by Singh against the former home minister were based on information provided by other officers.
Jagtap told The Indian Express that he would be presenting Waze’s deposition before the commission in court appealing against the ED’s action against his client.
The Chandiwal Commission was formed by the government after Singh in his letter to the chief minister raised allegations of corruption against Deshmukh. In the letter to the CM, Singh had alleged that Palande was present when Deshmukh asked Waze to collect money. Waze said in his deposition that no demand for money was made to him by Palande. He accepted that he met him at Dnyaneshwari, the official residence of the home minister, in February 2021 and knew him as the secretary to the home minister.