Updated: April 8, 2021 11:54:12 am
IN A letter he tried to submit to the Special NIA Court on Wednesday, suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Waze supported former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s allegations against ex-home minister Anil Deshmukh, while also levelling charges against Transport Minister Anil Parab of the Shiv Sena.
Waze alleged that Parab had asked him to initiate talks with a trust facing an inquiry and to get Rs 50 crore from the trustees to close the probe, as well as asked for collections from alleged fraudulent contractors on a BMC list.
The Special NIA Court did not take the letter, dated April 3, on record, directing Waze’s legal team to follow proper legal procedure, said Waze’s lawyer Rounak Naik.
Parab denied the allegations and said he would not be resigning, adding that he was ready to face any inquiry. He called the charges part of a conspiracy by the BJP to defame him, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the MVA government. “These are false allegations. I swear in the name of Balasaheb and my two daughters and want to tell the people of the state that the allegations are false,” Parab told the media.
In his letter, Waze said that then Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had told him that “certain agitators” had objected to Waze’s reinstatement with the Mumbai Police in June last year. He said Deskmukh told him that while NCP chief Sharad Pawar wanted him to be suspended again. he would convince Pawar not to remove him — “and for that purpose he asked me to pay Rs 2 crore”. “I expressed my inability to pay such an amount. On this, the Home Minister sir asked me to pay in later course.”
Waze also made allegations against Deshmukh similar to what Param Bir Singh had mentioned in his letter written to Thackeray after his transfer last month. Waze claimed that in January, Deshmukh had called him to his official residence. “(His) PA (personal assistant) Mr Kundan was present there. The Home Minister told me that there are 1,650 bars and restaurants in the city and asked me to collect Rs 3-3.5 lakh each from these for him,” the letter claims.
Waze said that when he said this was beyond his scope, Kundan told him he should comply if he wished to retain his job, but that he again refused. Waze said he informed Singh, who instructed him not to get involved in such activities.
He claimed that he had at the time expressed apprehension that he would be “embroiled in a false controversy” — implying that the NIA case against him over the bomb scare at Mukesh Ambani’s house was part of this.
In the letter, Waze went on to talk about a meeting in July-August last year at Parab’s official bungalow. According to him, at this meeting, Parab asked him to “initiate primary talks” with a Mumbai trust against which a preliminary inquiry was on, and sought Rs 50 crore from the trust to close the inquiry. Waze claimed that he expressed his inability to intervene in the trustee inquiry as he did not have control over it and did not know anyone from the trust.
He claimed that later, in January, Parab approached him over the list of fraudulent contractors with the BMC, and sought “at least Rs 2 crore” from about 50 such contractors. Waze claimed that he had not found any incriminating material while probing the BMC contractors’ list till his transfer following the Ambani case in March.
Waze also claimed to have been approached by a man who “introduced himself as a very close circle person” of NCP leader and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, asking him to collect a monthly amount of Rs 100 crore from illegal gutka sellers in the state, but that he had again refused. Waze claimed that after he took action against illegal gutka sellers in Mumbai on January 1, he was again approached by the man, who “conveyed displeasure expressed by the Hon Dy CM Sir'”. Waze said the man asked him to meet Ajit Pawar or the manufacturers of gutka, but he had refused.
Transport Minister Parab questioned the timing of Waze’s letter, soon after the Bombay High Court ordered a preliminary inquiry against Deshmukh on the basis of Singh’s allegations. On Wednesday, the CBI approached the Special NIA Court to question Waze on the matter.
Waze’s lawyer Aabad Ponda did not oppose the CBI plea nor the NIA’s application to extend his custody. “It is in my interest to stay in their custody. I want to cooperate with the CBI as I have done with the NIA,” Ponda said on behalf of Waze.
The NIA submitted that their probe had found Rs 1.5 crore in a private bank in the name of a company floated by Waze. It also claimed that Waze had given Rs 40 lakh and Rs 36 lakh cash to an accomplice in the past few months. “We need to investigate from where the accused had arranged this money and whether it was part of any extortion made by him for himself or others. How can a police officer of API rank have such a huge amount?” Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said.
The Special NIA Court subsequently sent Waze to further NIA custody till April 9. It also allowed the CBI’s application to interrogate him, directing the two central agencies to coordinate.
with inputs by Vishwas Waghmode
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