Hours after the state-appointed Chandiwal Commission cancelled the bailable warrant issued against former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, an inquiry was initiated into an alleged “secret meeting” between Singh and dismissed policeman Sachin Waze.
Singh and Waze — an undertrial prisoner who is the main accused in the Antilia security scare case and is being investigated by the NIA — allegedly met in a separate room in the premises where the Chandiwal Commission holds its hearings, without seeking the judge’s permission.
The Mumbai Police will conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit its report to the Navi Mumbai Police, who shall take further action against the four policemen including a police sub-inspector who escorted Waze from Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai to Old Secretariat Building Annex in Fort, where the proceedings of the commission are under way, and who allowed the alleged meeting to take place.
Earlier in the day, the former Mumbai police commissioner presented himself before the commission. The Chandiwal Commission was appointed by the government to probe Singh’s allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. It had issued a bailable warrant against him on September 7 after he failed to appear before it. After Singh’s resurfacing last week, his lawyers filed an application before the commission seeking cancellation of the bailable warrant, which the commission granted on Monday.
“It is informed that ill health and other ailments precluded him from remaining physically present this commission. Based on protection extended by Hon’ble Supreme Court by order dated 22nd November 2021, Singh has cause to ensure his presence before the commission,” read an order passed by the judge.
The bailable warrant was cancelled and Singh was fined Rs 15,000. He was instructed to deposit the money in the chief minister’s relief fund within a week.
Singh reached the Old Secretariat Building Annex in Fort at 10.30 am. The commission sits on the second floor. The office of the Homeguards is situated on the first floor of the same building. Singh, who holds charge of Director General Homeguard, first went to his office and spent about half an hour there. He then appeared before the commission at about 11.05 am. His lawyer filed an application for cancellation of the bailable warrant against him. Singh had to file an affidavit for the cancellation.
Meanwhile, Waze had also been brought to the building and marked his presence before the commission, but he was not scheduled to depose or be cross-examined today.
The meeting between him and Singh is alleged to have taken place in the room next door to where the commission holds its hearings. Their meeting allegedly went on for some time while Waze’s four police escorts stood outside the room.
Following the alleged meeting, at around 12.05 pm, Singh and his lawyers returned to the commission and filed an affidavit in which Singh reiterated that he had nothing more to add or depose before it.
When Deshmukh’s lawyer flagged the “secret meeting” between Singh and Waze, the judge instructed Waze to henceforth sit in the same room as the commission.
The public prosecutor, Shishir Hiray, said, “There was no permission granted by the judge for any meeting with a jail inmate.”
Singh’s lawyer did not reply to calls and messages from The Indian Express.
Mumbai Zone 1 Deputy Commissioner of Police Hari Balaji said, “We had appointed an assistant commissioner of police to conduct the inquiry. However, later the decision to transfer the inquiry to the Navi Mumbai police commissioner was taken as the four policemen are posted in that jurisdiction.”
Senior Mumbai Police officials said that statements of the four escort policemen would be recorded, after which a report on the incident would be handed over to the Navi Mumbai police commissionerate for further disciplinary action.
Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Bipin Kumar Singh said he was unaware of the incident. He said, “We are yet to receive any official communication from Mumbai Police. As soon as we do, we will set up an inquiry and on the basis of its findings we will take action against them.”
Maharashtra Congress committee general secretary Atul Londhe demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident.
After appearing before the commission in the first half of the day, Singh went to the state CID office at Belapur in Navi Mumbai around 3.30 pm. They are investigating three FIRs registered against him. After questioning, Singh was allowed to leave by 8.30 pm.
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