A senior police officer has alleged that former home minister Chhagan Bhujbal interfered in the Sara Sahara probe. Bhujbal is now the Public Works Department minister.
Former Assistant Commissioner of Police and one of the investigating officers in the case, Shankar Kamble, told the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Wednesday that the then home minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, had asked him to go slow in the probe against Rajendra Vale, then ward officer in whose jurisdiction the Sara Sahara shopping centre had been built. The shopping centre is allegedly owned by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Kamble told the court that Vale, now the deputy municipal commissioner, was found to be at fault.
According to the police, the shopping complex was formerly earmarked for a municipal school and garage.
Four civic officials -- executive engineer Hasmukh Shah, former ward officer Kiran Achrekar and assistant engineers Narendra Rajbhar and Shirish Salvekar – were arrested under MCOCA. Vale was their superior.
When Special judge Mrudula Bhatkar asked Kamble, "Why was Vale not made the accused?" he replied he had put up the material before the then commissioner of police RS Sharma seeking initial permission to arrest Vale, "however, I was instructed from Mantralaya to go slow against Vale."
On further questioning, Kamble said: "It is true that the person who gave me such instructions has committed an offence. He was the home minister himself."