INDIA. Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and two colleagues were charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday with bribery charges levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
A 59-page charge sheet was filed in Special CBI court in Mumbai, named Deshmukh, his assistant Sanjeev Palande and secretary Kundan Shinde. They have been booked for taking bribes from restaurant and bar owners. The charge sheet has been filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions.
On November 2, 2021, Deshmukh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the same case for money laundering offenses under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Later, Palande and Shinde were arrested. They were in CBI custody till April 16 after which they were remanded to judicial custody.
The move came a day after the Special CBI court allowed a plea of dismissed police officer Sachin Waze to turn an approver and seek pardon in the case. In his application filed before the court, Waze claimed that he had cooperated with the CBI before and after his arrest.
After his confessional statement was recorded under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, Waze, an accused in the case until June 1 (Wednesday) was granted a pardon by the CBI court on the same day. Now he can depose as a prosecution witness in the case.
Following his removal from the job of Mumbai Police Commissioner, Singh claimed in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh had urged him to extort around Rs 100 crore a month from Mumbai’s bars and eateries.
“A preliminary inquiry was made by the CBI on April 6, 2021, against the then Home Minister, Government of Maharashtra, and others on the orders dated April 5, 2021, of Bombay High Court in PIL No.06/2021. It was revealed during the inquiry that the said accused and others allegedly attempted to obtain undue advantage of their position and dishonestly performed their public duties. It was also alleged that the said accused and others exercised undue influence over the transfers and postings of police officers,” read the press note issued by the CBI.
Accordingly, on April 21, 2021, a case was registered against Deshmukh and others. Waze, who was also arrested in the case, recently sought pardon in the case, which was allowed by the court on Wednesday. He is no longer named an accused in the case and will testify as a prosecution witness for the CBI against the co-accused.
The court will be taking cognizance of the charge sheet in due course while the investigation by the CBI will continue in the case. Deshmukh is now in the judicial custody of the CBI Court as also the Special Court under the PMLA(ED).