Suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze has alleged that top Maharashtra ministers asked him to extort money from businessmen and establishments, echoing similar charges by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has denied the allegations.
Sachin Vaze, under the scanner of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged act of planting explosives in a car outside billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s house in February and murdering Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran in March, made the allegation in a letter he intended to submit before the special NIA court hearing his case.
Transport minister Anil Parab debunked Vaze’s allegations saying he was not involved in any extortion case and it was the BJP’s conspiracy to defame the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. “In order to defame the Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray), it was necessary to vilify someone close to the Chief Minister and this is a part of agenda being pursued by the BJP,” said Parab told reporters.
“I am ready for inquiry by any agency whether NIA, RAW or anyone. I am even ready for narco test,” he added. He said if he was found guilty, his chief Uddhav Thackeray would hang him to death. He said he would fight this case legally.
He said it was clear as state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil had claimed that the third minister will soon be in the dock showed he knew of this letter beforehand.
In his four-page letter, Sachin Vaze alleged that former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and sitting transport minister Anil Parab asked him to collect money, but he refused. He also said that he was approached for money by a man claiming to be close to deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
Deshmukh and Pawar belong to the Nationalist Congress Party, while Parab is a member of the Shiv Sena. The Indian National Congress (INC) is the third partner in the state’s coalition government.
On 25 March, Vaze requested the court to allow him to say something in connection with the case. The court asked him to put his submission in writing. When he brought the letter on Wednesday, the court refused to accept it.
“We submitted the letter to the court, but the court refused to accept it and asked us to follow the correct procedure. The procedure here would be either give a confession statement or give a statement under section 164 of Criminal Procedure code (statement before the magistrate) which we are not willing to,” said Vaze’s lawyer Raunak Naik.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar was not available for comment. Former home minister Anil Deshmukh did not respond to calls and text messages.
“I am ready for inquiry by any agency whether NIA, RAW or anyone. I am even ready for narco test,” Parab said. He said he would fight this case legally.
NCP said that the party was not happy with Vaze’s reinstatement which is a fact but the rest of his claims are completely baseless. Vaze made this attempt to save himself from the wrongdoing done in the past just like Param Bir Singh, it said.
“There was displeasure in the NCP as far as Vaze’s reinstatement was concerned but claims about convincing Pawarsaheb is not true. The allegations are baseless and are the same as what Param Bir Singh has already said. Both Singh and Vaze were two-man army operating from the Mumbai police commissionerate working hand in gloves and everyone knows about it. Both are now trying to save themselves by making false allegations,” said Nawab Malik, NCP chief spokesperson and state minority affairs minister.