Uddhav, Aaditya pressured me to reinstate Waze: Param Bir to CBI

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh has alleged that it was Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya, also a state cabinet minister, who ‘pressured’ him to reinstate suspended cop Sachin Waze. Singh’s allegations are part of the ‘corruption’ chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh.

Waze was later arrested by the National Investigation Agency for being the alleged mastermind of the Antilia terror scare case, and subsequently dismissed from the force. In the CBI case, the central agency gave its no-objection to Waze being pardoned, following which he was made a witness for the CBI and dropped as an accused.

The CBI filed a chargesheet earlier this month against Deshmukh and two of his staffers. Singh’s statement is part of the chargesheet provided to the defence lawyers on Monday.

The CBI, while questioning Singh, asked him about the circumstances under which Waze had been reinstated by the Suspension Review Committee headed by him in June 2020.

“The HM (Deshmukh) praised Waze after a press briefing pursuant to the recovery of masks and told me that Sachin Waze should be reinstated. This was around March 22-23, 2020. A few days later, Shri Suraj Chauhan, PA to Shri Aaditya Thackeray, came to meet me and he also pressured me to reinstate Shri Sachin Waze, saying Shri Aaditya Thackeray wanted it.” Singh said in his statement.

He claimed that he spoke on the phone to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who told him to reinstate Waze.

“He (Chauhan) also asked me to call Shri Aaditya Thackeray and I called him on WhatsApp. Shri Aaditya Thackeray asked me to speak to the Chief Minister in this regard. I called on the phone of Shri Rajput, PSO of Shri Uddhav Thackeray, CM, again on WhatsApp. The PSO gave the phone to the CM and he (Thackeray) also asked me to reinstate Sachin Waze,” said Singh.

He claimed that again in the first week of April 2020, then Home Minister Deshmukh called him to reinstate Waze. After this call, Waze approached Singh in his office on April 7 with an application for his reinstatement.

“I wrote ‘most urgent’ on the said application in the wake of pressure being put on me and the orders given by the CM, Shri Aaditya Thackeray and the HM,” said the former police chief.

Singh further said the suspension was not immediately revoked as the review committee usually met only once every quarter.

“In the intervening period. I met the HM and CM on a few occasions and during such meetings also they asked me about the reinstatement of Waze occasionally. As I recall, the CM referred to this on one occasion in a meeting. Shri Anil Deshmukh HM, told me more than once,” said Singh.

After his removal as the police chief in March 2021, Singh had written a letter dated March 20, 2021, to Thackeray, alleging malpractice by Deshmukh, including interference in police transfers.

Singh also claimed that before sending the letter, he had briefed Thackeray about Deshmukh’s alleged misdeeds. “I do not remember the date on which I briefed him about the acts of the HM, however, the CM said merely that he (Deshmukh) was my home minister.” Singh claimed that he had also informed other state leaders about Deshmukh’s alleged misdeeds, including NCP president Sharad Pawar, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Irrigation Minister Jayant Patil and Transport Minister Anil Parab.

“I say that CM, Shri Ajit Pawar and Shri Anil Parab were already aware of these malpractices of Anil Deshmukh. They did not confirm about their knowledge in words but from their reactions, I could make out that they already knew,” Singh has said in his statement.

Further, Singh provided a list of officers from the rank of police sub-inspector to police inspector, whose names had been recommended for transfers to and outside Mumbai, allegedly by several political leaders, including Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, NCP leader Nawab Malik and NCP MP Supriya Sule, among others.

The chargesheet also includes Waze’s confessional statement. “I have been pressured by many political persons and I have succumbed to the said pressure and decided to make a confessional statement voluntarily responding to my self-conscience,” his statement claims. Waze also claimed that for his reinstatement, he had come in touch with Deshmukh and on April 7, 2020, the minister had asked him to submit an application to Singh. Waze has also claimed that there were agitations against his reinstatement and MLA Abu Azmi had met NCP president Sharad Pawar in this regard. Waze has claimed that he had come to know about this from Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut.

“I requested Mr Sanjay Raut to convince Mr Sharad Pawar. So, the meeting was held by Mr Sharad Pawar with Sanjay Raut and Mr Abu Azmi and later on, Mr Param Bir Singh was called there, whereupon Sharad Pawar told him to re-suspend me. The time was given till Monday,” said Waze. He said he was told about this by Singh but later Deshmukh called him, demanding Rs 2 crore to ensure that he remains reinstated. Waze was suspended for his alleged involvement in the Khwaja Yunus custodial death case in 2004.

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