SIT to probe two FIRs linked to Param Bir Singh: Mumbai Police
Mumbai Police have formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the two first information reports (FIR) linked to former Mumbai Police commissioner (CP) Param Bir Singh and others.
The SIT will probe two FIRs, one of which is registered at the Marine Drive police station against Singh, a crime branch deputy commissioner of police (DCP) and five other policemen, by a Bhayander-based builder Shyamsunder Agrawal alleging ₹15 crore extortion by Singh and his subordinate officers.
The other is the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) case registered by the Juhu police against Agrawal for his alleged links with the underworld gangster Chhota Shakeel. Agrawal had alleged that based on this false case, Singh and his subordinates extorted money from him at the behest of his former business partner Sanjay Punamiya, who is presently in the custody of Marine Drive police.
“A DCP rank officer would head the SIT and an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) rank officer would be the chief investigation officer of the two cases linked to Singh,” said a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
Since senior police officers and some powerful and influential people are linked to the case, an SIT would ensure a transparent, fair and time-bound investigation. The SIT will directly report to CP Mumbai Hemant Nagrale and joint CP, law and order, Vishwas Nangre Patil, another police officer said.
Singh is facing three FIRs; one is of Marine Drive police station, while two FIRs are being investigated by the Thane police.
In Marine Drive police’s FIR the complainant Agrawal, 57, claimed that he had done several real estate projects in Borivli, Bhayander and Gorai between 2016 and 2011, in 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. Agrawal has cleared his name in 14 of these cases.
According to the FIR, on February 17, 2021, registered against Agrawal at Juhu police station on the complaint of Punamiya who alleged that Agrawal threatened him for extortion at the behest of gangster Chhota Shakeel between November 2016 to December 2020. Later in March 2021, MCOCA sections were invoked in the case.
A few days later Mumbai crime branch unit 9 officers raided Agrawal’s Bhayander and Vile Parle residences.
Based on this case of Juhu police, 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-Bhayander. They allegedly threatened to put Agrawal behind bars for five years under MCOCA charges if the demands were not fulfilled. The accused also forcefully took Shubham’s signature and threatened the complainant with a 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 Marine Drive 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 get out of the criminal case.
He further added that Punamiya continued to harass him for the remaining payment of ₹11 crore from the previous settlement deed, in which, Singh was also involved. Following this, he approached the police.
Now the SIT will thoroughly probe the Marine Drive extortion case against Singh and the MCOCA case of the Juhu police, which Agrawal claims, is a false case filed to implicate him.
Besides three FIRs, 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 (CID) is probing multiple allegations against Singh on the complaint of cricket bookie Sonu Jalan and other two alleging extortion at the hands of Singh and his subordinates while Singh was heading the Thane police. CID has submitted their enquiry report to DGP Sanjay Pandey and, sources said that another extortion FIR may be registered against Singh soon.
The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has also initiated an open inquiry against Singh pertaining to corruption allegations made against him by police inspector Anup Dange. The ACB has issued a Look Out Circular (LoC) against Jeetu Navlani, an accused in the complaint filed by Dange and a friend of Singh.
The 1988 batch IPS officer Singh, was earlier booked in an Atrocities Act case in April this year on the complaint of a serving inspector from Akola police.
The third FIR against Singh is registered under charges of extortion and kidnapping at the Kopri police station in Thane last week.
Singh is presently in his hometown in Chandigarh and is on leave owing to some health conditions. He has not responded to allegations made against him in multiple complaints.
Singh, after his removal as police commissioner, on March 20, 2021, wrote an explosive letter to the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray claiming state’s home minister Anil Deshmukh had instructed controversial crime branch officer API Sachin Vaze (now dismissed) and other Mumbai police officers to extort monthly ₹100 crore from the 1750 bars, pubs, hookah parlours and other establishments in Mumbai.
Based on this allegation first Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and then the Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched investigations against Deshmukh on charges of corruption and money laundering.