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Another FIR against Param Bir Singh in 15-crore extortion allegation

Another first information report (FIR) has been registered against former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh
By Vijay Kumar Yadav, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 23, 2021 12:21 AM IST

Another first information report (FIR) has been registered against former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The case was filed by Marine Drive police based on the complaint of a Bhayandar-based builder who alleged that Singh and his subordinated has made an extortion demand of 15 crore at the behest of a businessman. The businessman, a former business partner of the complainant builder, has been arrested in the case along with his associate on Thursday.

Marine Drive police on Thursday registered an FIR against businessman Sanjay Punamiya, his associate Sunil Jain, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) (crime branch) Akbar Pathan, assistant commissioner of police Shrikant Shinde, inspectors Asha Kokare, Nandkumar Gopale, Sanjay Patil and others along with Singh.

Singh did not respond to calls and messages.

Punamiya and Jain were arrested in the case from their residences in south Mumbai and were produced in court which remanded them in police custody up to July 29.

The complainant, Shyamsunder Agrawal, 57, claimed that he had done several real estate projects in Borivli, Bhayandar and Gorai between 2016 and 2011in partnership with Punamiya, but due to complications, conflicts and profit-sharing disputes, the two ended their partnership in 2011. He alleged that Punamiya has been registering false cases against Agrawal since then and has filed 18 cases against him in Mumbai and Thane.

In 2016, Agrawal was arrested and while he was in jail, Punamiya and Jain allegedly demanded 20 crore from Agrawal’s nephew by claiming that Singh is Punamiya’s friend and if the money was not paid, they would add sections of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Agrawal using Singh’s clout. This meeting was held at Singh’s Kopari, Thane residence and a DCP-rank officer, who is believed to be close to Singh, was also allegedly present in the meeting. He further said that the accused collected 9 crore from Agrawal and his nephew, according to the remand application.

There was also a settlement deed signed between Agrawal, Punamiya and Singh, police sources said.

According to the police case, this year another FIR was registered against Agrawal at Juhu police station on the complaint of Punamiya who alleged Agrawal was threatening him for extortion at the behest of gangster Chhota Shakeel.

As per police’s remand application, Agrawal’s nephew Shubham was threatened by Punamiya, Jain and other accused at Punamiya’s Fort office demanding 15.5 crore and share in some properties in Gorai and Mira-Bhayandar. They allegedly threatened to put Agrawal behind bars for five years if the demands were not fulfilled. The accused also forcefully took Shubham’s signature and threatened the complainant with narcotics case.

Shubham, meanwhile, recorded the conversation that took place in this meeting on his phone and presented it before the police as evidence. Based on the audio clip and some monetary transaction records, the police registered the case, sources said.

Agrawal, in his complaint, claimed that he had paid 15 crore to Punamiya through cheque and 50 lakh in cash. He also allegedly paid hefty amounts to crime branch police officers to help him in the criminal case.

He further added that Punamiya continued to harass him for the remaining 11 crore from the previous settlement in which Singh was also involved. Following this, he approached the police.

Singh and other accused have been booked under sections 387 (putting a person in fear of death or of grievous hurt in order to commit extortion), 388 (extortion by threat of accusation of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, etc), 389 (putting a person in fear of accusation of offence in order to commit extortion), 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating), 423 (dishonest or fraudulent execution of deed of transfer con­taining false statement of consideration), 464 ( making a false document), 465 (forgery) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Singh is already facing multiple enquiries after he was shunted out from the post of Mumbai Police chief in March this year for improper handling of the Antilia bomb scare case.

Maharashtra criminal investigation department is probing multiple allegations against Singh while the anti-corruption bureau has initiated an open inquiry against him pertaining to corruption allegations made against him by police inspector Anup Dange.

Singh, who is the director general of Home Guards, was earlier booked in an Atrocities Act case in April this year on the complaint of a serving inspector from Akola police.

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