The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case, on Wednesday (March 7) recorded the statement of former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh on the reinstatement of suspended cop Sachin Waze into the police force after a gap of 16 years and the cases he had handled.
A senior NIA official revealed to NDTV that it was important to question the top cop because they had to cross-check when Waze was posted to the Crime Intelligence Unit of the police and the cases he was assigned. Waze was recently arrested in connection with the bomb planted outside Ambani’s Antillia residence and is the prime suspect in the murder of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran, in whose car the bomb was found.
Waze, who has also been implicated in a ₹100 crore extortion racket that the former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh is alleged involved in, directly reported to Param Bir Singh.
The NIA also wanted “clarity” from Singh over the recovery of a number of luxury vehicles, parked at the office of the Mumbai police commissioner. It was after the first of these several luxury cars were recovered that the Maharashtra government, which had not been cooperating with the NIA until then, realised that they were on the right track, NDTV quoted an agency official as saying.
The NIA will now hand over all the evidence of corruption against Waze and other Mumbai cops to the CBI. The CBI has begun a preliminary inquiry into Singh’s allegation that former home minister Deshmukh had told him to collect ₹100 crore every month from restaurants, bars and other establishments in the city.
However, Param Bir Singh’s alleged “close proximity” to controversial officer Waze, as revealed in a report submitted by the current Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale to the Maharashtra government, also prompted NIA to question the former top cop.
In the report, Nagrale said that Waze was posted to the CIU in June last year on the insistence of Singh and he used to report directly to the former police chief. Waze bypassed protocol and hierarchy to directly report to Singh, said Hindustan Times, which accessed the report.
Further, the police commissioner added that Waze accompanied Singh during briefings to the home minister, and he was part of critical cases including TRP scam, Antilia explosive scare and Dilip Chhabria’s arrest. “Vaze never obeyed the hierarchy of ranks to report over the cases under investigation,” the document said.
Nagrale’s report too links Singh to the decision to revoke Waze’s suspension. Despite opposition by the then joint commissioner (Crime), Waze was posted to the CIU, even though Waze was not an inspector-rank officer. The decision to reinstate Vaze was taken in a suspension review committee meeting on June 5, 2020, chaired by Singh, joint police commissioner (administration) and other two senior officers, the report said.
Singh was removed as police commissioner on March 17 and shifted as commandant general of home guards. He approached the Supreme Court and High Court but finally had to resign after the Bombay High Court asked the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegation.