Ex-Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh declared proclaimed offender in extortion case

ByVinay Dalvi, Mumbai
Nov 18, 2021 12:06 AM IST

The court’s order came days after the crime branch of Mumbai Police, which is probing the extortion case, urged the court to declare Param Bir Singh and two others proclaimed offenders.

A Mumbai court on Wednesday declared former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh and two others proclaimed offenders in an extortion case filed by the city police.

Former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh was declared as a proclaimed offender by a court on Wednesday. (Praful Gangurde)
Former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh was declared as a proclaimed offender by a court on Wednesday. (Praful Gangurde)

It is for the first time that a police commissioner in the city has been declared a proclaimed offender. Singh, 59, was the city’s 43rd police commissioner.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Sudhir Bhajipale also directed Singh and two others -- Vinay Ramnarayan Singh (46) and Riyaz Bhati (56) -- to appear before court in 30 days in connection with the case. If they fail to appear, police can initiate the process for attachment of their properties under section 83 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

The court’s order came days after the crime branch of Mumbai Police, which is probing the extortion case registered in Goregaon in northwest Mumbai, sought the proclamation against the three accused, saying they could not be traced even after the issuance of a non-bailable warrant (NBW) on October 30.

Appearing for the crime branch, special prosecutor Shekhar Jagtap said that “pursuant to the warrant, crime branch officials visited Singh’s last known address in the city at Neelam Building in Malabar Hill” but a cook present there informed that the former Mumbai top cop and his family had not been staying at the residence for the past three months.

Jagtap added that a crime branch team also visited Singh’s hometown in Chandigarh where his brother told police that he had not made any recent visits to the Union territory.

Likewise, officials also visited Bhati’s residence in Kandivli in north Mumbai and Vinay Singh’s residence at Andheri in western Mumbai but could not trace them, Jagtap said.

A short affidavit, filed by investigating officer Vishal Patil, in support of the plea sought the proclamation under section 82 of Code of Criminal Procedure, stating that Singh has been absconding since March this year.

The affidavit added that in the last four months, five cases were registered against the senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer but he never appeared for probe in any of the cases.

Singh also failed to appear before the Justice KU Chandiwal Commission, which is probing the former top cop’s allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, the affidavit said.

The affidavit added that “despite best efforts by the crime branch”, none of the three accused could be traced and therefore, the “non-bailable warrants issued against them have remained unexecuted.”

The crime branch claimed that the accused were “intentionally evading the law” and that officials had even urged the court to initiate a process for attachment of their properties.

The case against Singh and others was registered on August 30 following a complaint by one Bimal Agarwal that the accused had extorted 11.92 lakh from him by threatening to register false cases against two of his restaurant outlets. The incidents occurred between January 2020 and March 2021, he had claimed.

Former assistant police inspector Sachin Waze, who was arrested in connection with the Antilia bomb scare case, is also among six accused in the extortion case registered under sections 384 and 385 (both pertaining to extortion) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code.

Mumbai-based advocate Aniket Nikam said a proclamation is meant for those accused persons who have been avoiding investigating agencies.

“It seems despite several attempts the police have not been able to get hold of Param Bir Singh and for such situations, CrPC under section 82 contemplates the procedure of proclamation and section 83 provides for attachment if properties (movable/immovable) of the proclaimed offender.”

“The Supreme Court has held that an absconder/proclaimed offender is not even entitled to relief of anticipatory bail,” he added.

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