Just days after an explosive letter by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh shook the Maharashtra government, now disgraced and suspended API Sachin Vaze in his letter to the court has claimed that former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh asked him to pay a sum of Rs 2 crore ignorer to ensure his reinstatement. Additionally, he also claimed that Sharad Pawar was steadfastly against his reinstatement and Deshmukh could not have taken such a huge decision without the blessings of either Sharad Pawar or Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. If Pawar was indeed against Vaze’s reinstatement, then did Thackeray approve Vaze’s homecoming?
In a claim which threatens to split the Maha Vikas Aghadi right through the middle, Vaze who is currently in the custody of the NIA, in his letter accused former 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 mentions 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 claims 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.
If we were to take Vaze’s claims at face value, who did Anil Deshmukh convince Vaze’s reinstatement if Pawar was adamant about not relenting? The only two people who were higher up the political food chain in Maharashtra than Anil Deshmukh were Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray.
It is pertinent to note that former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis alleged that Uddhav Thackeray had personally approached him to reinstate Vaze during his CM stint. “When I received the proposal to reinstate Vaze back into the police force, I had verbally sought advocate general’s opinion about it. I was told that Vaze was suspended after the Bombay High Court’s order. Therefore, I decided not to reinstate him,” said Fadnavis.
He stated that in 2018, Uddhav Thackeray had called him to seek reinstatement of the then suspended police officer Sachin Vaze into the state police force.
Vaze’s letter has opened a can of worms. While Deshmukh’s political career is all but finished, it is now the turn of Deshmukh’s political bosses if there is any truth to Vaze’s sensational allegations.