The Sachin Vaze controversy exploded right in the face of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra on Saturday, March 20, with former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh who was transferred a few days ago accusing home minister Anil Deshmukh of corruption.
Singh wrote a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray claiming that the home minister had asked Vaze to collect ₹ 100 crores in bribes every month from restaurants, hotels and other establishments.
"The Home Minister added that the rest of the collection could be made from other sources," said Singh while making explosive revelations.
The senior IPS officer, who was transferred to the low-key Home Guards, following the arrest of police officer Sachin Vaze, in the case related to the bomb scare near Mukesh Ambani's house Antilia, said he was made a scapegoat in this case.
The former Mumbai police chief said that Deshmukh had cited in a recent interview that his transfer was ordered due to security lapses committed at his office in the case related to the explosive-laden SUV which was found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence.
Singh said that at a briefing session about the SUV incident, he had raised "several misdeeds" and "malpractices" on the part of Deshmukh, a senior NCP leader.
"I have similarly briefed the Deputy Chief Minister, Maharashtra, the President of the Nationalist Congress Party, 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 of some aspects mentioned by me to them," said Singh.
Singh said that Deshmukh had called Vaze to his residence and instructed him to assist in the "collection of funds".
The letter written to Thackeray, read "The Home Minister expressed to Vaze that he had a target to accumulate Rs. 100 crores a month. For achieving the aforesaid target, the Home Minister told 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."
Singh further stated that Vaze himself told him about Deshmukh when he came to his office the very same day.
Singh even accused Deshmukh of regularly calling his officers and giving them instructions about the collection of money, referring that his colleagues had apprised him of these "corrupt malpractices".
"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," he wrote.
In another explosive charge, Singh said that Deshmukh insisted that the suicide case of Dadra & Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar would be investigated in Mumbai and not at the Union Territory.
He mentioned that since Delkar had blamed officials in Dadra & Nagar Haveli in his suicide note and all the alleged acts of abetment had taken place there, the case should have been investigated by the local police.
"Despite being fully aware of the opinion of the legal experts, the general opinion and the reasons behind it, the 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 Mohan Delkar, Member of Parliament, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, on the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly on 9th March 2021," said Singh
Singh added that Deshmukh was "unhappy" due to his resistance to the same. Singh said that he has been made a "scapegoat" in order to divert attention from "actual wrongdoers". He said that the justification given by the state home minister for his transfer seem to for extraneous and vindictive reasons.
Dismissing the allegations, Deshmukh said that Singh is afraid that Vaze's alleged links to the Mukesh Ambani security scare case and the death of Mansukh Hiran will come out.
"Sachin Waze's direct links in Antilia case and Mansukh Hiran case are coming out. Param Bir Singh is afraid that its connections will reach up to him. He has made these false allegations to save and protect himself from legal action," Deshmukh shared on Twitter.
BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis sought Deshmukh's resignation over the claims made by the IPS officer.
"We demand the home minister's resignation. If he doesn't, then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray must remove him. An impartial probe must be conducted. The letter also says the chief minister was informed about this earlier, so why didn't he act on it?" Fadnavis, leader of the opposition in Maharashtra assembly, told The Times Of India.
The Maharashtra government has said that it is confirming whether the letter was actually sent by Singh himself since it was not mailed from his official email ID.
A statement released from the Chief Minister's Office read, "Letter from Param Bir Singh was received at 4:37 pm today via a different email address, not his official one and was without his signature. The new email address needs to be checked. The home ministry is trying to contact him for the same."
Vaze is the police officer, who is suspended, at the centre of the case involving the planting of a car loaded with explosives near billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai residence Antilia.
The assistant police inspector Vaze was arrested by the NIA recently over its probe into the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near Ambani's house on February 25.