Updated: March 23, 2021 4:58:59 am
RAISING THE stakes in his face-off with the Maharashtra government over his removal as Mumbai’s police chief last week, IPS officer Param Bir Singh Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into alleged corruption by the state’s Home Minister Anil Desmukh “before the evidences are destroyed”.
In his plea, Singh repeated the allegations he had levelled against Desmukh in an eight-page letter sent last week to Chief Minister Uddhav Thakeray — that the Minister had asked Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze, who was later arrested by the NIA in the bomb scare case, to collect Rs 100 crore every month, including Rs 40-50 crore from around 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Singh, in his plea, also accused Deshmukh of interfering in investigations, putting pressure on him to implicate BJP leaders in the death by suicide in Mumbai of MP Mohan Delkar, and indulging in “corrupt malpractices” on transfers and postings.
Singh expressed the fear that “evidence such as CCTV camera footage at the residence of… Deshmukh… may be destroyed if immediate directions to take over the same are not issued to CBI”.
Singh claims Deshmukh “pressurised” him to “somehow implicate” certain BJP leaders in the case of death of MP Mohan Delkar who was found dead in a hotel with a suicide note on February 22, but he “did not succumb”. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/cLnl5lmQhV
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) March 22, 2021
He said in the plea that he was approaching the court as the Maharashtra government had withdrawn general consent for CBI investigations into offences within the state and therefore, a court direction was necessary.
In his plea, Singh alleged that “Deshmukh had been holding meetings in February 2021 at his residence with police officers including Shri Sachin Waze of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai, and Shri Sanjay Patil, ACP Social Service Branch, Mumbai, bypassing their seniors and had instructed them that he had a target to accumulate Rs 100 crore every month and had directed to collect money from various establishments and other sources”.
Singh stated that Desmukh had allegedly “been interfering in various investigations and was instructing the police officers to conduct the same in a particular manner as desired by him”.
Referring to the case of Delkar, who was found dead in his hotel room on February 22 with a suicide note, the former Mumbai police chief said he “was time and again pressurised” by Deshmukh “to probe the role of certain leaders of BJP and somehow implicate them”.
“It is submitted that there was tremendous pressure to give the entire episode a political angle. The petitioner, however, did not succumb to the pressure,” the plea stated.
On transfers and postings, the plea echoed an allegation raised Sunday by BJP’s former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “…it is reliably learnt that on or about 24th/25th August 2020, one Rashmi Shukla, the Commissioner Intelligence, State Intelligence Department had brought to the notice of the Director General of Police, who in turn brought it to the knowledge of the Addl Chief Secretary Home Department, Government of Maharashtra, about corrupt malpractices in postings / transfers by…Deshmukh based on telephonic interception,” the plea said.
It added that Shukla “was shunted out rather than taking any firm action against…Deshmukh”.
“Each such act of…Deshmukh in abuse of the official position of the…Home Minister, whether in calling and directly instructing the police officers of lower rank such as…Waze…for his malicious intent of extorting money from establishments across Mumbai and from other sources, or whether in interfering in the investigations and directing the same to be conducted in a particular manner, or whether indulging in corrupt malpractices in posting/ transfers of officers, cannot be countenanced or justified in any democratic State,” said the plea.
Singh claimed in the plea that he “brought” these charges to “the knowledge of the senior leaders and the…Chief Minister of…Maharashtra” but “immediately thereafter, on 17.03.2021”, an order was issued transferring him from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner to the Home Guard Department “in an arbitrary and illegal manner without the completion of the minimum fixed tenure of two years”.
Subsequently, the plea stated, Desmukh said in an interview conducted on March 18 for ‘Lokmat’ that “there were serious lapses committed at petitioner’s (Singh’s) office by the Mumbai Police and the petitioner in the investigation of the Antilia incident” and that his “transfer is not on administrative grounds”.
Referring to the bomb scare case, Singh said “all necessary assistance had been rendered by” his “office and his officers for the conduct of a free and fair investigation by the ATS and the NIA”. The plea stated that his transfer, therefore, “is for reasons smeared with malice, when there is no iota of material or evidence — far from proof — found or even imputed against” him.
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