Mumbai ex-top cop Param Bir Singh may have fled India using forged passport: Probe agencies

A senior official stated that a forged passport is the only way a person against whom a Lookout Circular has been issued can cross the immigration section at any airport in the country.
Param Bir Singh was removed as the commissioner of Mumbai Police in March, following the Antilia bomb scare and the subsequent Mansukh Hiren murder cases. (HT File Photo)
Param Bir Singh was removed as the commissioner of Mumbai Police in March, following the Antilia bomb scare and the subsequent Mansukh Hiren murder cases. (HT File Photo)
Published on Oct 05, 2021 06:22 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh may have fled India either before the Lookout Circular (LOC) was issued against him by the state police or using a forged passport, news agency ANI reported on Tuesday, citing investigating agencies. Notably, the LOC was issued against Singh in July, two months after the former state police chief went on leave.

A senior official told ANI that there is zero probability for any individual to cross the immigration at any airport of India if an LOC has been issued against him/her. Elaborating the process further, the official pointed out that when a person against whom LOC has been issued puts their passport in the system to cross the immigration, it gets red-flagged and they are handed over to the concerned authorities. “The Maharashtra government issued an LOC against Singh just after several FIRs were registered against him,” the official was quoted as saying by ANI.

The official stated that forged passport is the only way Singh could have fled the country, if he did, after he obtained the same using someone else’s ID and his photo. “Many a times people with forged passports get detained but some also manage to pass through because the verification is computer-based with less manual interference,” the official said.

This latest development comes after Maharashtra home minister Dilip Walse Patil said last week that the state government of the investigative agencies are unaware of the former police chief’s whereabouts. “I've heard something like that but as a government officer, he can't go abroad without government clearance,” Patil said on speculation of Singh escaping to Russia.

Singh is wanted in a probe into a corruption claim he levelled against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, saying that the latter was involved in an extortion racket wherein he asked police officials to collect money from bars and restaurant owners. Singh also named dismissed former Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze in this case.

Singh was demoted as the DG (Home Guards) on March 22 after being removed as the Mumbai police commissioner a few days before, following the Antilia bomb scare and the subsequent Mansukh Hiren murder cases. He had appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on April 7 to record his statement in both the cases, however, he didn’t respond to summons by the NIA thereafter.

Also Read | Maharashtra ACB gets nod to launch second inquiry against Param Bir Singh

He last attended office on May 4 after which he went on leave from the next day, citing health issues. Singh had also requested for an extension of his leave after May, even claiming he underwent a surgery. In mid-August, he requested the Maharashtra government for another extension of his leave on health grounds, and he has been untraceable since then.

A state home department official recently said that the Maharashtra government has commenced the process of suspending Singh but it wants the case to be fool-proof in order to stand legal probe.

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Monday, January 24, 2022