Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government plans to set up an inquiry into the explosive letter apparently sent by Mumbai’s former commissioner of police Param Bir Singh to CM Uddhav Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, accusing Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of corruption.
ThePrint has learnt that the inquiry will not only look into the allegations against Deshmukh, but also why Singh did not act earlier on the information.
According to a source in CM Thackeray’s office, “Now the next steps are that since the allegations have been made, there has to be an inquiry. But the inquiry will also focus into the question of why Singh did not report the complaint earlier. As an officer or even for a citizen, what is expected is that if you come to know of any wrongdoing, you must register a complaint. So all the people aware of it will also be looked into.”
NCP president Sharad Pawar has suggested retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro’s name to head the inquiry and the CM will take a call on it, the source further said.
In the letter, the former police chief had purportedly claimed that Deshmukh, an NCP leader, had instructed his officers, including suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze, to collect Rs 100 crore a month from bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.
The CMO had earlier hinted that it doubted the veracity of the letter since it was unsigned and came through an email address that was different from the one listed as Singh’s personal email ID in official records. However, according to the source, the letter came from the former police chief “in all probability”.
“The CMO has tried to contact Singh. The state home department too has tried, but Singh has remained unavailable for a comment. The sense within the CM’s office is that in all probability, the letter was sent by him, but he decided to leave some room for himself to retract and distance himself from the letter if things don’t turn out the way he wants them to,” the source said.
ThePrint also tried to reach Param Bir Singh via calls and text messages, but he did not revert till the time of publication of this report.
‘Other officers deny allegations’
The letter was emailed to the chief minister’s office Saturday at 4.37 pm, two days after the state government transferred Singh to the much-lower-profile posting of DG, Home Guards, amid the controversy over the recovery of an explosives-laden car from outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence ‘Antilia’, and the National Investigation Agency’s arrest of police officer Waze in connection with it.
In the letter, two more officers were named — Assistant Commissioner of Police Sanjay Patil and Deputy Commissioner of Police Raju Bhujbal — who were allegedly pressurised by the home minister’s office to collect money from Mumbai’s restaurants and bars.
The source quoted above told ThePrint that the state home department has unofficially checked with both officers and they have denied any such incident. “These conversations haven’t happened officially as it was a holiday,” the source clarified.
In a press conference Sunday, Pawar questioned the timing of Singh’s letter, hinting that it could be a part of a conspiracy to destabilise the MVA government.
(Edited by Rachel John)