As former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s political career hurtles towards an inglorious end as both former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and API Sachin Vaze have come out and levelled sensational extortion allegations against Deshmukh, now the name of senior Shiv Sena leader and Transport Minister Anil Parab has featured in Vaze’s letter as the suspended officer alleged that even Parab had asked him to extort money for him.
It seems that the former loyalists of the Maha Vikas Aghadi are scripting the downfall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government as the skeletons keep tumbling out. Now, in Vaze’s handwritten letter to the Court, he claims that Transport Minister Anil Parab had repeatedly asked him to extort money for the Sena leader.
Vaze in his letter wrote, “In July-August 2020, I was called by Minister Anil Parab at his official bungalow… At the meeting, Parab asked me to look into the complaint under preliminary inquiry and bring the trustees of the SBUT to him for negotiations about the inquiry. He also insisted to initiate primary talks to get Rs 50 crore from SBUT in order to close the said enquiry. I had expressed my inability to do any such thing as I do not know anybody from SBUT and also I did not have any control over the inquiry.”
The suspended officer also claimed that Parab summoned him again in January 2021 and asked him to look into an inquiry against some contractors listed in the Sena ruled BMC and collect Rs 2 crore each from them.
Vaze who is currently in the custody of the NIA, wrote, “He (Parab) told me to collect at least Rs 2 crore each from 50 such contractors. An inquiry was on in this matter based on an anonymous complaint. The Crime Intelligence Unit inquiry against the contractors had not yielded any result.”
In fact, Vaze while claiming his innocence, stated that he had informed the then Mumbai Commissioner of Police, Param Bir Singh about the extortion demands made by both Anil Deshmukh and Anil Parab. The letter stated, “…I met the Police Commissioner (Param Bir Singh) and expressed my apprehension about this… I told him that I would be embroiled in a false controversy in the near future. The Commissioner encouraged me and categorically instructed me not to involve myself in any such illegal collection of money from anyone and for anyone.”
In his letter, Vaze has also accused Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of demanding Rs 2 crore from him if he wanted to continue his service in Mumbai Police.
In the handwritten letter which is yet to be accepted by the Court, Vaze categorically mentioned how NCP supremo Sharad Pawar was against his reinstatement in 2020 and wanted it to be revoked. Vaze had re-joined the force last year, 16 years after being suspended in 2004.
Vaze alleged that Deshmukh had told him that if he paid Rs 2 crore to him, “he would convince Pawar to allow him back into the force”. Vaze wrote, “I had expressed my inability to pay such an amount. On this, the home minister asked me to pay it in a later course.”
Reiterating the sensational extortion allegations levelled by Param Bir Singh against Anil Deshmukh, Vaze claimed that in October 2020 he was summoned by the former Maharashtra Home Minister to the Sahyadri Guest House where Deshmukh asked him to collect Rs 3-3.5 lakh each from 1,650 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Vaze claimed that he turned out Deshmukh’s request as he wrote, “I refused by saying that it was not within the scope of my capability.”
According to Vaze’s letter, Deshmukh’s PA post the meeting reached out to him and advised him to comply with the instructions of Deshmukh if he wished to keep his job and post intact. Vaze claimed that Deshmukh yet again made the same demand when the duo met at Deshmukh’s official residence in January 2021.
After Singh’s letter, it seems that Vaze’s letter has opened a can of worms that threatens to sink the boat of Maha Vikas Aghadi mainly as after NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, even the name of Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab has surfaced in the extortion case.