Mumbai: Weeks after Mumbai’s former police commissioner Parambir Singh issued an explosive letter accusing former state home minister Anil Deshmukh of extortion, arrested assistant police inspector Sachin Waze has now made similar allegations against the minister.
Waze, who has been in the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) custody since March 13, on Wednesday, April 7, through a handwritten application, claimed that he was pressurised by Deshmukh to pay Rs 2 crore to be reinstated in duty. Waze, who was suspended for close to 16 years following his involvement in a series of extrajudicial killings, was reinstated amid COVID- 19 crisis in the state last year.
Waze’s four-page letter was, however, not accepted by the special NIA judge P.R. Sitre. The court directed Waze to follow the legal procedure before submitted any application to the court. Meanwhile, Waze was sent to NIA custody until April 9. Two other accused in the case — suspended police constable Vinayak Shinde and cricket bookie Naresh Gor – were remanded to 14-day judicial custody by the court.
In the application, Waze has claimed that while Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was against his reinstatement, Deshmukh was keen on having him on board. For this favour, Deshmukh had allegedly demanded Rs 2 crore as bribe money, Waze has claimed in the letter. On March 20, Singh had made a similar allegation that he and his subordinate officers were forced to collect a whopping Rs 100 crore from city restaurants and bars every month.
Waze, who is a prime accused in the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case and suspicious death of a car décor businessman Mansukh Hiren, was directly reporting to Singh since he was reinstated. Soon after Waze was arrested by the NIA, Singh was shunted out from the plum city commissioner’s post and sent to home guards, a department considered to be of lesser importance and often looked at as a “punishment posting”.
Singh, after making his letter public, had moved the Bombay high court seeking the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry against Deshmukh. On his and at least four other similar applications, the court on April 5 ordered for a preliminary inquiry against Deshmukh. A special CBI team has been dispatched from Delhi to look into the allegations.
Deshmukh has moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay high court order.
Waze, who, according to the preliminary investigations conducted by the NIA, has amassed both movable and immovable assets in the city, claims to have been under tremendous pressure to resort to illegal extortion from businessmen dealing in Gutka in the city.
In the letter, he writes that he was approached by one close associate of Deshmukh and was ordered to extort money and if he did not do so, he would soon lose his job. Waze claims he refused to do an illegal act and in fact, started “taking action” against several Gutka businessmen. This upset the former home minister, he writes.