Shunted out over the case of explosives being found in an abandoned SUV outside billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Antilia and the subsequent arrest of suspended police officer Sachin Vaze in the case, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh moved the Supreme Court on Monday, demanding a CBI probe against Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh for allegedly running a “money collection scheme” through the police department.
In writ petition, Singh claimed that he was transferred to a low-key post in Mumbai Police’s Home Guards by an order on March 17 “immediately” after he brought the corrupt practices of Deshmukh to the knowledge of Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and some other senior leaders in the state government.
“The petitioner has invoked writ jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court to seek unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair investigation in the corrupt malpractices of Shri Anil Deshmukh, the Hon’ble Home Minister of Government of Maharashtra, before the evidence are destroyed,” said Singh’s petition, filed through advocate Abhinay.
It contended that NCP leader Deshmukh held various meetings in February 2021 at his residence with police officers, including Sachin Vaze of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai and Sanjay Patil, ACP (Social Service Branch), Mumbai, bypassing their seniors, and asked them to collect ₹100 crores every month from establishments such as bars, hookah parlours, restaurants.
“The Home Minister has been instructing them to carry out official assignments and collection schemes, including financial transactions as per his instructions based on his expectations and targets to collect money,” said Singh, adding it was imperative to order a CBI probe before the CCTV camera footage at Deshmukh’s residence is destroyed.
Singh has also submitted that he was being made a “scapegoat to divert attention” in the Antilla case, highlighting that while there were vertically five officers between him and Vaze, Deshmukh was the one meeting Vaze at his residence.
In that case, now being investigated by the National Investigation Agency, Vaze has already been arrested. The state ATS has also named Vaze the main accused in the death of Mansukh Hiran who was in possession of the SUV found with the explosives, but reported it stolen a few days before the incident.
Alleging that Deshmukh had also been interfering with investigations into several other cases, Singh claimed that the home minister pressured him “to probe the role of certain leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and somehow implicate them” in the abetment to suicide case of Mohan Delkar, the seven-time Lok Sabha MP from Dadar and Nagar Haveli who was found dead in a hotel in Mumbai’s Marine Drive area on February 22.
“Fair CBI investigation is thus warranted in each of such acts of Shri Anil Deshmukh in abuse of the official position of the Hon’ble Home Minister,” said the petition. It added that Singh approached the top court for a CBI probe since the Maharashtra government has withdrawn its general consent for the central agency to carry out investigation in the state.
Singh is likely to be represented in the top court by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi. The petition is still to get a date of hearing in the top court.
Singh, in his plea, has also called the decision to transfer him “a political move with oblique purposes and sinister motives”, besides in violation of the Rule 7 of the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954 which lays down that every officer shall hold the post for at least two years.
The petition further said: “The transfer of the petitioner in the aforesaid circumstances is for reasons smeared with malice, when there is no iota of material or evidence – far from proof – found or even imputed against the petitioner, and is solely based on conjectures, surmises and pure speculation, without detail of any sort against the petitioner having been noticed by anybody. .”
Singh said he was constrained to write a letter to the chief minister on March 20 regarding Deshmukh’s conduct after his transfer owing to adverse media publicity by Deshmukh, in violation of his right to reputation, dignity, equality and liberty.
In his letter which came out in the public domain a day ago, Singh made a spate of accusations against Deshmukh, who refuted the allegations.
On Monday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar also rejected Singh’s claim, saying Deshmukh was in the hospital from February 5-15 and later in home quarantine till February 27 – the period when Param Bir Singh claimed Vaze had met the home minister.
Meanwhile, Singh on Monday took charge as the Director General (DG) of Maharashtra Home Guard, a police official said.
Singh reached the Home Guard office in south Mumbai around noon but avoided speaking to media persons, the PTI reported.
The Maharashtra government transferred Singh from the post and appointed senior IPS officer Hemant Nagrale, who was holding additional charge of Maharashtra DGP, as the new commissioner of Mumbai Police.