Mumbai: Former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh Monday appeared in person before the Chandiwal Commission, set up by the state government to probe the IPS officer’s extortion allegations against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, prompting the one-member panel to cancel the bailable warrant issued against him.
Singh had failed to respond to multiple summons by the commission comprising Justice K.U. Chandiwal (Retd) since May.
The investigation stems from Singh’s March letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, where he alleged that Deshmukh had instructed certain Mumbai Police officers, including the now dismissed Sachin Waze, to collect Rs 100 crore a month from the city’s bars and restaurants.
Advocate Shirish Hiray, the Chandiwal Commission’s lawyer, told ThePrint, “The commission fined him Rs 15,000 for not appearing earlier. He submitted an affidavit explaining that he did not appear earlier as he was unwell. He also reiterated that he did not want to provide any fresh evidence or have any cross-examination (of witnesses) to support his allegations.”
Hiray said Param Bir Singh “has made an application seeking exemption from personal appearances before the commission”. “It has not been granted yet,” he added.
Singh will have to deposit the penalty amount with the chief minister’s relief fund. The panel had levied a fine on Singh earlier too when he did not respond to the various summons issues to him. Although Singh was untraceable then, this penalty amount was deposited with the CM’s relief fund, a source close to the workings of the commission told ThePrint.
In a submission filed before the commission on 28 October, Singh had said he neither wanted to lead any evidence to support his allegations against Deshmukh, nor did he want to cross-examine anyone.
Last week, Singh’s lawyer informed the commission that the IPS officer’s allegations were based on “hearsay”, on what his subordinates told him.
Untraceable for long
Singh’s letter to CM Thackeray came three days after the IPS officer was transferred from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner following alleged lapses in the investigation into the recovery of explosives outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai home, Antilia. Singh was shunted to the post of director-general, Home Guards.
He went on leave in May, citing medical reasons, and was not traceable since then. Meanwhile, the Mumbai and Thane Police started inquiries into five cases involving extortion allegations against him, while local courts even issued non-bailable warrants in two of these cases.
Singh returned to Mumbai last week after the Supreme Court granted him interim protection from arrest. His lawyer had earlier informed the court that Singh is very much in the country but feared there is a “threat to his life” as soon as he enters Maharashtra. The apex court will hear the Maharashtra government’s response on 6 December.
On his return, the IPS officer told reporters that he was in Chandigarh all this while and had returned to Mumbai to join the investigation.
On his return, Singh first went to the Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch office in Kandivali to record his statement in one of the five cases against him. The following day, he went to the Thane Nagar police station to record his statement in a second case, after which a Thane court cancelled the non-bailable warrant issued against him in the matter.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)