NEW DELHI: The CBI questioned former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh and suspended police officer Sachin Waze on Thursday in connection with its preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, officials said.
Going full throttle on its inquiry in view of the deadline given by the Bombay High Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also questioned Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sanjay Patil, they said.
Singh had reportedly written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh had called Patil to his residence, where his personal staff asked the police officer to target bars and restaurants in the millennium city to collect about Rs 50 crore, the officials said.
Patil has reportedly claimed that he had met Deshmukh along with other officers to brief him about a raid, but had never met him after that.
He is understood to have told the Mumbai police’s internal inquiry team that he met Waze in office, where the latter asked him about the collection of Rs three lakh each from bars.
Patil has also claimed that he does not know about any meeting between Waze and Deshmukh, according to reports.
The officers also met Mumbai-based lawyer Jayshree Patil, on whose petition the high court had ordered the preliminary inquiry by the CBI.
The agency started its preliminary inquiry into allegations of bribery against Deshmukh on Tuesday on the orders of the high court.
It sent a team of officers from Delhi to Mumbai to carry out the probe.
API Waze, posted in the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai police, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a case related to the recovery of an explosives-laden sports utility vehicle (SUV) near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in the Maharashtra capital on March 25 and the subsequent killing of its owner, Mansukh Hiran.
The CBI had taken permission from a special court to question Waze.
Singh was transferred from the police commissioner’s post following Waze’s arrest by the NIA.
After his transfer from the police commissioner’s post, he alleged that Deshmukh had asked police officers, including Waze, to extort Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants.
Singh had approached the Bombay High Court through a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking a CBI probe into the allegations of corruption against Deshmukh.
A criminal writ petition was also filed by Jayshree Patil, on which the high court ordered the CBI probe and disposed of all other petitions related to the matter.
On Monday, the high court gave 15 days to the central agency to conduct the preliminary inquiry into the allegations.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni said this was an “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” case that warranted an independent inquiry.
In its 52-page judgment, the bench said Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh had put the citizens’ faith in the state police at stake.
Such allegations, made by a serving police officer against the state home minister, could not be left unattended and were required to be probed if, prima facie, they made out a case of a cognizable offence, the court had said.