The Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government in Maharashtra has been rocked by allegations of corruption against state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
On Saturday, Singh wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging that Deshmukh had asked Sachin Vaze, the ‘encounter specialist’ who was arrested and suspended from the police force for his role in the Ambani case – to collect ₹100 crore every month from business establishments in Mumbai.
Below is the full, unedited text of the letter. The Chief Minister’s Office says the letter is being verified. (CMO’s statement below the letter.)
Re: Untruthful statements by the Hon’ble Home Minister, Maharashtra in relation to the transfer of Shri Param Bir Singh, IPS as Commandant General of Home Guards, Maharashtra State from the post of Commissioner of Police, Mumbai.
- With all humility at my command and as a true citizen of the Nation who has stood by his oath as a Police Officer for 32 years, I urge you to take note of the below mentioned facts and stand by the Constitutional values that guide the actions of the high seat you occupy.
- In deference to transfer order dated 17th March 2021 of the Home Department, Govt. of Maharashtra, I have taken charge of the office of the Commandant General of Home Guards, Maharashtra State on the very next date i.e. 18th March 2021. Prior thereto, I have handed over charge of the affairs of the office of the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai.
- My transfer was effected under section 22N(2) of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951 with the reason that my transfer was necessitated by administrative exigencies. I believe that the reason for the transfer noted by the Govt. in my file is to ensure a free and fair investigation in the Antilia incident.
- On 25th February 2021, a case bearing no. 35/ 2021 was registered with the Gamdevi Police Station as a result of a car with explosives being found at Altamount Road near Antilia, the residence of Shri Mukesh Ambani. The said case is thereafter being investigated by the ATS and the NIA. All necessary assistance had been rendered by my office and my officers for the conduct of a free and fair investigation by the ATS and the NIA into the Antilia incident.
- Shri Anil Deshmukh, Hon’ble Home Minister, Maharashtra has stated in an interview conducted under the aegis of ‘Lokmat’ and extensively reported on 18th March 2021 that: (a) there were serious lapses committed at my office, by the Mumbai Police and me in the investigation of the Antilia incident; (b) my serious lapses are not pardonable; and, (c) my transfer is not on administrative grounds.
- At one of the briefing sessions in the wake of the Antilia incident held in mid-March 2021 when I was called late evening at Varsha to brief you, I had pointed out several misdeeds and malpractices being indulged into by the Hon’ble Home Minister. I have similarly briefed the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister, Maharsahtra, the President of the Nationalist Congress Party, Shri Sharad Pawar and other senior Ministers also about the misdeeds and malpractices. On my briefings, I noticed that some of the Ministers were already aware about some aspects mentioned by me to them.
- In the aforesaid context, Shri Sachin Vaze who was heading the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police was called by Shri Anil Deshmukh, Hon’ble Home Minister, Maharashtra to his official residence Dyaneshwar several times in last few months and repeatedly instructed to assist in collection of funds for the Hon’ble Home Minister. In and around mid-February and thereafter, the Hon’ble Home Minister had called Shri Vaze to his official residence. At that time, one or two staff members of the Hon’ble Home Minister including his Personal Secretary, Mr. Palande, were also present. The Hon’ble Home Minister expressed to Shri Vaze that he had a target to accumulate Rs. 100 crores a month. For achieving the aforesaid target, the Hon’ble Home Minsiter told Shri Vaze that there are about 1,750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai and if a sum of Rs. 2-3 lakhs each was collected from each of them, a monthly collection of Rs. 40-50 crores was achievable. The Hon’ble Home Minister added that the rest of the collection could be made from other sources.
- Shri Vaze came to my office the same day and informed me of the above. I was shocked with the above discussion and was mulling over how to deal with the situation.
- A few days later, Shri Sanjay Patil, ACP, Social Service Branch, was called by the Hon’ble Home Minister at his official residence to hold discussions about the hookah parlours in Mumbai. The meeting was attended by other officers and Shri Palande, Personal Secretary to the Hon’ble Home Minister. Two days later, Shri Patil along with DCP Bhujbal were called at the official residence of the Hon’ble Home Minister for a meeting. While ACP Patil and DCP Bhujbal were made to wait outside the Hon’ble Home Minister’s cabin, Mr. Palande went inside the chamber of the Hon’ble Home Minister and after coming out took ACP Patil and DCP Bhujbal on the side. Mr. Palande informed ACP Patil that the Hon’ble Home Minister was targeting a collection of Rs. 40-50 crores which was possible through an approximate 1,750 bars, restaurants and establishments operating in Mumbai. I was informed by ACP Patil about the demand to make collections for the Hon’ble Home Minister.
- The aforesaid meeting at the official residence of the Hon’ble Home Minister with Shri Patil and Shri Bhujbal occurred on 4th March 2021 as informed to me by Shri Patil. In order to remind myself about the exact conversation that I had with ACP Patil, I messaged ACP Patil on 16th March 2021. Shri Patil has reconfirmed the aforesaid date and details to me on message on 16th March 2021 & 19th March 2021 and I am reproducing the text of my messages with ACP Patil:
Me (16th March 2021, 4:59 pm): Patil how many bars and other establishments did HM sir and Palande mention to you when you had met them in Feb . And what was total expected collection they mentioned.
Me (16th March 2021, 5:00 pm): Urgent please.
ACP Patil (16th March 2021, 5:18 pm): 1750 bars & other establishments in Mumbai. Per establishment ₹three lakhs. Total collection ₹50 crore per month approximately as per their information.
ACP Patil (16th March 2021, 5:23 pm): Mr Palande mentioned before DCP Bhujbal Enforcement on 4th March.
Me (16th March 2021, 5:25 pm): And when did you meet HM sir before that.
ACP Patil (16th March 2021, 5:26 pm): Before 4 days for Hukka briefing.
Me (16th March 2021, 5:27 pm): And what is date of Waze’s meeting HM sir.
ACP Patil (16th March 2021, 5:33 pm): Sir I don’t remind the exact date.
Me (16th March 2021, 7:40 pm): You said it was a few days before your meeting?
ACP Patil (16th March 2021, 8:33 pm): Yes sir, but it is in end of February
Me (19th March 2021, 8:02 pm): Patil I want some more information.
Me (19th March 2021, 8:02 pm): Did Waze meet you after he met HM sir.
ACP Patil (19th March 2021, 8:53 pm): Yes sir, Waze met me after his meeting with HM sir.
Me (19th March 2021, 9:01 pm): Did he tell you anything why HM sir had called him.
ACP Patil (19th March 2021, 9:12 pm): The purpose of meeting was, he told me that, 1750 establishment in Mumbai, he should collect rs 3 lakh per establishment for him also, which will be around 40 to 50 cr.
Me (19th March 2021, 9:13 pm): Oh. This was same as what HM sir told you.
ACP Patil (19th March 2021, 9:15 pm): On 4 th March , his PS Palande told me the same.
Me (19th March 2021, 9:16 pm): Oh yes. You met Palande on 4th.
ACP Patil (19th March 2021, 9:17 pm): Yes sir, I was called.
- After the meeting of Shri Vaze with the Hon’ble Home Minister, he had discussed the instructions of the Hon’ble Home Minister with Shri Patil and both of them had approached me with their predicaments.
- The Hon’ble Home Minister has as a regular practice been repeatedly calling my officers and giving them instructions in respect of the course to be followed by them in performance of their official duties. The Hon’ble Home Minister has been calling my officers at his official residence bypassing me and other superior officers of the Police Department to whom those respective Police Officers report to. The Hon’ble Home Minster 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. These corrupt malpractices have been brought to my notice by my officers.
- In the present context, I may add that late Shri Mohan Delkar, Member of Parliament, Dadra & Nagar Haveli was found dead at Hotel Sea Green on 22nd February 2021. The Marine Drive Police Station recorded ADR No. 5/21 in relation to the suicide. A suicide note was found in the course of investigation. The said suicide note blamed senior officials of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and the trouble inflicted by them on Shri Delkar being the cause of suicide. An appropriate investigation was being undertaken by the Marine Drive Police Department in the said ADR.
- However, from day one, the Hon’ble Home Minister desired a case of abetment of suicide to be registered at Mumbai. My professional view after seeking appropriate legal advice was that while the suicide had occurred in Mumbai, all the alleged acts of abetment had taken place in Dadra & Nagar Haveli. Thus, the abetment of suicide, if any, was required to be investigated by the Police at Dadra & Nagar Haveli who would have jurisdiction in that regard. You will recollect that in a briefing held at Varsha soon after the incident in the presence of a Hon’ble Minister and several other officials, after I drew attention of all concerned about my view, there was general agreement that the alleged acts of abetment could only be investigated by the Police at Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
- Dutybound to do so, I held to my professional view as advised by legal experts. The Hon’ble Home Minister kept insisting otherwise despite having been informed by me about the opinion of legal experts on this issue. Due to my resistance, the Hon’ble Home Minister was unhappy with me as the political mileage desired to be derived from the registration of the abetment of suicide case in Mumbai in the death of Shri Mohan Delkar, Member of Parliament against senior officials of Dadra & Nagar Haveli was not being achieved.
- Despite being fully aware of the opinion of the legal experts, the general opinion and the reasons behind it, the Hon’ble Home Minister announced the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and registration of an FIR into the alleged case of abetment of suicide of late Shri Mohan Delkar, Member of Parliament, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, on the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly on 9th March 2021.
- It has been my experience during the last more than one year as Commissioner of Police, Mumbai that the Hon’ble Home Minister has on numerous occasions called several officers from the Mumbai Police to his official residence at Dyaneshwar for giving instructions to adopt a specific course of action in police investigations. These acts of political interference are illegal & unconstitutional and Courts in our country including the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India have in the past come down heavily on such acts of interference in police investigations. In the event of my expressing reservations against the interference from the Hon’ble Home Minister and resistance from me in that regard, the Hon’ble Home Minister has found my reservations and resistance undesirable.
- I may humbly submit that I take full responsibility of my police force. However, the instances of interference make it clear that the responsibility of wrongdoings may lie somewhere else at the door of the wrongdoers.
- On a collective appraisal of events that have transpired and what is being pointed out by me makes it clear that I have been made a scapegoat to divert attention from the actual wrongdoers.
- It is not out of place to mention that there is no iota of material or evidence far from proof found against me or even imputed against me. Except for conjectures, surmises and pure speculation, no detail of any sort against me has been noticed by anybody. The call records and phone data of Shri Sachin Vaze be examined to ascertain the truth of the allegations qua me and for the truth to emerge insofar as his association with political functionaries is concerned.
- In these circumstances, the assertions of the Hon’ble Home Minister to the effect that my transfer is not for administrative or routine reasons, I have conducted serious lapses and the serious lapses in the investigation committed by me are unpardonable are all statements contrary to the record and seem to be for extraneous and vindictive reasons.
- As a civil servant serving the Nation & the State for more than 32 years, the people of Mumbai and the Department of Police, I have been recipient of prestigious awards like Khadtar Seva Medal Naxalite Area, DGP’s Insignia 2004, Special Service Medal 2006 and Police Medal for Meritorious Services.
- I have humbly apprised you of the true picture in order to place before you for consideration and corrective action, being fully cognizant to the retaliation that is likely against me for placing the true picture on record.
Param Bir Singh I.P.S. Commandant General of Home Guards, Maharashtra State
Copy submitted to:
1. The Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister Government of Maharashtra Mumbai
2. The Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department Government of Maharashtra Mumbai
3. The Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble Governor State of Maharashtra Mumbai
Param Bir Singh’s letter is being verified: Maharashtra Chief Minister’s office
“An unsigned letter in the name of Param Bir Singh, commandant general of Home Guards” was received on the official email ID of the chief minister’s secretariat in the afternoon,” the Chief Minister’s Office said.
The email ID from where the letter was sent was being verified and the state home department was trying to contact Singh, the statement said.
The verification was needed as Singh’s ID in the official record was different, it said.