Updated: July 22, 2021 7:19:53 am
IPS officer Param Bir Singh, who is facing a slew of cases after his removal as the Mumbai Police commissioner following a fall out with former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, may soon face action on another front — the recovery of penalty rent running into several lakhs for an official apartment in Malabar Hill that he continued to occupy even while he was posted as the police chief of Thane.
Singh was appointed as the police commissioner of Thane city on March 18, 2015. Prior to that he was posted in Mumbai as additional DGP of the Special Reserve Police Force. For this posting, he was provided an apartment in Nilima, a building reserved for senior police officers on B G Kher Marg in Malabar Hill.
After moving to Thane, where Singh stayed in the police commissioner’s official residence, he retained the Nilima apartment.
The Indian Express has learnt that Singh was billed for the rent and the penalty rent amounting to Rs 54,10,545 for the period between March 17, 2015 and July 29, 2018 — the entire duration of his posting in Thane. While Singh has paid Rs 29,43,825, the balance amount of Rs 24,66,720 is pending.
Last month, The Indian Express had reported that 35 IPS officers owe nearly Rs 4 crore in rents and penalties for overstaying in their official accommodation. Officers are allowed to stay on for 15 days in their official accommodation after their posting ends. The government charges only a licence fee for these 15 days. If the officer fails to vacate even after this period, the government begins applying a penal rent in addition to the licence fee.
On his return to Mumbai as additional DG (Law & Order) in the state police in July 2018, Singh had moved to Nilima.
According to sources, earlier this year, when relations between him and then home minister Anil Deshmukh were yet to sour, he had made an appeal to waive the balance amount. He had said that his family needed a place to stay in Mumbai, and also cited precedents of other IPS and IAS officials receiving such waivers. However, the file with his plea was sent back without any remark by the Chief Minister’s Office.
A senior state police officer said, “Singh is now posted in Mumbai and is legally entitled for the flat. But he has to pay the penalty for the 2015-2018 period. No officer can keep two residential quarters. We will recover the money from his salary and if it’s not possible now, we will recover it after his retirement in June 2022.’’
Neither Singh nor Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Manukumar Srivastava responded to calls, email and message.
When contacted, Additional Director General of Police Sanjeev Singhal said, “I will have to check the file.’’
Singh (59), an IPS officer of the 1988 batch, is now posted as DG (Home Guards) after being removed as the Mumbai Police commissioner.
The trigger for his removal was a letter he wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging that Deshmukh had set a monthly target to collect Rs 100 crore as bribe or hafta from bar owners and restaurants. He had alleged that Deshmukh conveyed this to dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze, who has been arrested in the Ambani terror scare case.
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