‘No further evidence’ against Anil Deshmukh, former Mumbai CP Parambir Singh tells probe panel in affidavit

Sources said that Parambir Singh, whose whereabouts are unknown, filed the affidavit last week before Justice KU Chandiwal Committee, which is probing allegations of bribery against Anil Deshmukh

Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh (File photo)
Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh (File photo)

Gautam S Mengle

Just a day after former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was remanded to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate, it has now come to light that former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh has stated that he has “no further evidence” against Deshmukh.

The senior Nationalist Congress Party leader had appeared before the ED on Monday for questioning in connection with an alleged money laundering case filed against him earlier this year. After around 12 hours of questioning, Deshmukh was placed under arrest in the early hours of Tuesday morning. He was subsequently produced in a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court and remanded to ED’s custody till Saturday.

Sources said that Singh, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, filed an affidavit last week before the Justice KU Chandiwal Committee, which is probing the allegations of bribery against Deshmukh.

“The affidavit was filed through someone who holds power of attorney on behalf of Singh. It states that Singh does not wish to cross examine any witness in connection with the inquiry, nor does he have anything to add other than what he had already written in his letter which led to the inquiry,” a source told National Herald.

Singh had on March 20 written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging that Deshmukh had instructed Sachin Waze, a-now dismissed police officer, to collect Rs 100 crore from bars in Mumbai. A day later, Singh also filed a PIL against Deshmukh before the Bombay High Court. In April, the HC had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation as well as the ED to start inquiries into the matter.

Singh’s latest affidavit filed last week states, “Since all that was required to be disclosed had been disclosed by Shri Param Bir Singh to the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has taken note of the same, he has nothing more to add than what has been stated in his letter dated 20.03.2021 addressed to the Hon’ble Chief Minister.”

Following the Bombay HC’s directions, the CBI had registered an FIR against Deshmukh on April 20 and the ED followed suit on May 11. The ED went on to issue five summons to Deshmukh, despite which he failed to appear for inquiries and also moved the Bombay HC as well as the Supreme Court seeking that the FIR against him be quashed. Both the courts, however, dismissed his plea and Deshmukh ultimately had to appear before the ED on Monday, leading to his arrest.

Singh’s latest affidavit, however, threatens to slot the ED’s case against Deshmukh in the category of legally shaky cases filed by central agencies against public figures from Maharashtra.

The development comes barely days after the Bombay High Court granted bail to actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan in an alleged drug case. Aryan was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau on October 2 and remanded in the NCB’s custody, on the sole contention that his WhatsApp chats indicated connections with an ‘international drug cartel’.

A month down the line, however, the NCB is yet to present any strong evidence in this connection Aryan’s blood and urine samples were not tested for drug consumption, besides the fact that no direct recovery of drugs were made from his person.

The NCB’s case was further weakened by allegations of misconduct and corruption made by NCP leader Nawab Malik, as well as Prabhakar Sail, one of their own witnesses in the case.

The NCB’s case, too, witnessed a fresh twist on Wednesday, with Sam D’souza, an alleged NCB middleman as claimed by Malik, moving the Bombay HC seeking anticipatory bail.

KP Gosavi, a panch witness in Aryan's case, allegedly took Rs 50 lakh from Shah Rukh Khan's manager Pooja Dadlani. However, D'souza has said that he ensured that the money was returned to Dadlani through her husband.

Sail had alleged that Gosavi and D’souza had discussed asking for Rs 25 crore and not settling for less than 18 crore, as Rs 8 crore were to be allegedly paid to NCB’s Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.

D’souza, in his anticipatory bail plea, has said that Wankhede had nothing to do with the matter.

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