April 8, 2021 2:35:36 am
Statements of DCP Raju Bhujbal and ACP Sanjay Patil, given to the Mumbai Police in March as part of its “suo motu” inquiry into corruption allegations against former home minister Anil Deshmukh, largely remain silent on the allegations made by former commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The statements of Bhujbal and Patil, recorded before joint commissioner of police (Crime) on March 20 and 22, respectively, were made public Wednesday on social media. Singh’s letter making allegations against Deshmukh was made public on March 20.
In his eight-page letter to the chief minister, Singh had alleged that collection targets were set for the police by Deshmukh. He had mentioned WhatsApp chats and conversations with Bhujbal and Patil, who he said had been asked by Deshmukh’s secretary to collect Rs 40 to Rs 50 crore from 1,750 bars and restaurants in the city on behalf of the minister.
Singh had also attached a WhatsApp chat, where Patil told him about the collection target set by Deshmukh. Singh was Mumbai Police commissioner when the conversation took place. A day later, he was moved to Home Guards. In his statement, Bhujbal had said that while he and Patil did meet Deshmukh and his secretary Palande, it was to do with providing information for some starred questions asked in the ongoing state Assembly’s Budget Session. He added that after discussing the same, he and Patil left in their respective official vehicles. The statement does not say anything about Palande setting collection targets on behalf of Deshmukh.
Patil in his statement said that on March 1, he went to meet Deshmukh over a query about hookah parlours in Thane city that had been raised during the Budget Session. He said he did not discuss anything else.
He said, “I state that Sachin Vaze met me in the official premises and said he had met Hon’ble Home Minister to brief him about investigation of cases. He further said that the Home Minister informed him that he came to know about Rs 3 lakh being collected from each establishment and there are about 1,750 bars and restaurant establishments in Mumbai city. I state that I am unaware whether the meeting between Sachin Vaze and Hon’ble Home Minister took place or not.”
This part of his statement bears some resemblance to what Singh wrote. However, Patil does not mention any collection targets set for Bhujbal and him.
This is contradictory to the WhatsApp chat attached by Singh in his letter to the CM. In the chat, Patil tells Singh that on March 4, Palande told him about the same collection targets that were mentioned to him by Waze earlier.
The CBI team that has reached the city to conduct a preliminary inquiry against Deshmukh is likely to record the statement of the two officers as well.
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