MUMBAI: Former city police commissioner and IPS officer Param Bir Singh had given controversial police officer Sachin Waze, who was subsequently dismissed from service, a target of Rs 2 crore to be extorted every day, the crime branch told a metropolitan magistrate’s court on Monday.
Special public prosecutor Shekar Jagtap told the court that in the investigation into the complaint of businessman Bimal Agarwal, it has come to light that Singh started the extortion racket immediately after Waze was reinstated in service in 2020. “Singh reinstated Waze on June 9, 2020, and on the very next day he was given charge of the Crime Intelligence Unit.
Thereafter, Waze started approaching businessmen, hoteliers and other establishments to extort money,” Jagtap told the court.In a telephonic conversation between Agarwal and Waze, which Agarwal recorded, Waze is heard asking him to hand over a list of BMC contractors so that he can extort them.“Waze is also heard saying that there is a lot of pressure on him from No. 1 (referring to Singh), who had given him a collection target of Rs 2 crore per day. Waze said No. 1 wants to recover the losses caused during the Covid pandemic,” said Jagtap.
Interestingly, Singh himself had written to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying then home minister Anil Deshmukh had asked Waze to collect Rs 100 crore every month from bars and restaurants. In the events that followed, Deshmukh had to resign and face a CBI and Enforcement Directorate probe.
Seeking 10-day custody of Waze, Jagtap said they want to interrogate Waze to find out the list of people from whom he extorted on behalf of Singh, who all were beneficiaries of the ring, they want to take Waze’s voice samples so that they can compare with the recorded audio, want to collect electronic evidence and want to know how many BMC contractors he contacted.
The police said they are still looking for Param Bir Singh, one Vinay Singh and gangster Chhota Shakeel’s aide Riyaz Bhatti.
Waze’s lawyer Sajal Yadav assisted by Raunak Naik opposed police custody for Waze and gave a list of do’s and don’ts given by the doctors as he has undergone a heart surgery, including no interrogation for more than two hours. The court remanded Waze in police custody till November 6.
The case pertains to Agarwal’s complaint that Waze, at Singh’s behest, extorted Rs 9 lakh from him for not conducting raids on two restaurants and bars in Goregaon where Agarwal is a partner. Agarwal also said Waze extorted two high-end mobile phones worth Rs 2.9 lakh from him.