Dismissed Police Officer Sachin Waze has stated in his statement to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that the former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had asked him to collect money from bar and hotel owners, and used to give instructions in high-profile investigations.
Waze's statement supports the accusation made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh that Deshmukh was asking Waze to collect money from bar owners in Mumbai. The NCP leader allegedly gave Waze a target of collecting Rs. 100 crore. Waze was then an Assistant Inspector of Mumbai Police and was arrested in March this year.
Though the allegations were denied by Deshmukh, he had to resign. The former Mumbai Police Commissioner had made the startling revelations by writing a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, after Waze's name surfaced in the case relating to planting an of explosive laden SUV outside Mukesh Ambani's residence Antillia in Mumbai. Singh was shunted from the post following the controversy and Thackeray has constituted an inquiry commission over the allegations.
Waze's statement is part of a charge-sheet recently filed by the ED against Deshmukh's Personal Secretary Sanjeev Palande and Personal Assistant Kundan Shinde in an alleged money laundering case.
Waze has told the ED that on June 16, 2020, he met Deshmukh at the state guest house Sahyadri where the then State Home Minister told him that together "they will do good cases". Thereafter, as per Waze, Deshmukh used to call him frequently to take updates on various cases directly, and at times for personal work like arranging vehicles.
The dismissed cop claimed that he got instructions from the ex-Minister in cases, including in the one against Arnab Goswami for alleged TRP rigging, where some TV channels were accused of manipulating TRP to inflate viewership. Waze has also claimed that the then Home Minister gave him instructions in the abetments to suicide case regarding the death of architect Anvay Naik, in which case, journalist Arnab Goswami was arrested.
Waze has also alleged that at a meeting held in October, 2020 at Deshmukh's residence, Deshmukh gave him a list of 1,750 bars and restaurants and asked him to collect Rs 3 lakh each from these establishments for granting various favours.
The charge-sheet has not named Deshmukh or his family members as accused, but says that Waze collected money from bars and restaurants at the behest and instructions of Deshmukh and the amounts were handed over to Deshmukh's aides Palande and Shinde.
Deshmukh received approximately Rs 4.70 crore, collected from orchestra bar owners, and this money was routed to the Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha Trust, a trust managed by the Deshmukh family, as donations, as per the ED charge sheet.
The ED launched a probe against Deshmukh and his associates after the CBI filed an FIR against the senior Nationalist Congress Party leader on April 21, following allegations made by Param Bir Singh.
With PTI inputs