MUMBAI: A day after Param Bir Singh was shunted out as Mumbai police commissioner, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday said that “serious and unforgivable mistakes” committed by some colleagues of the city top cop led to his transfer.
In his first public comments over the transfer, Deshmukh said Singh was shifted to ensure that the probe into with the bomb scare outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in south Mumbai is conducted “properly and without hindrance”.
Singh, who was under fire over the handling of the bomb scare episode, was on Wednesday transferred to the low- key Home Guard by the state government.
Senior IPS officer Hemant Nagrale was appointed in his place.
Assistant police inspector (API) Sachin Waze was recently arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over its probe into the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near Ambani’s house on February 25.
Speaking at an event organised by Lokmat newspaper and aired by ABP Majha news channel, Deshmukh also said that the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the NIA are conducting the probe into the episode “professionally”.
He said action will be taken against whoever is found guilty in the respective probes by the NIA and ATS.
“This is not an administrative transfer (of Singh). Some things have come to light through the probes conducted by the NIA and the ATS,” Deshmukh said.
“Some of the colleagues of the (former) Mumbai police chief (Singh) committed some serious mistakes. Those are unforgivable mistakes. Hence, he was transferred. Further action will be taken based on the probe report,” he added.
Waze was arrested by the NIA on March 13 in the probe into the recovery of explosives from the SUV.
He was later suspended.
Waze has also been facing heat in the alleged murder case of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who was in possession of that SUV.
Hiran was found dead in a creek in Thane district on March 5.
The ATS is probing the murder case.
Asked about the BJP and the MNS’s allegation that political bosses of the officials are not being acted against, Deshmukh said, “The NIA and ATS are conducting the probe professionally. They will definitely find out whoever is guilty.” BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had on Wednesday claimed that when he was Maharashtra chief minister, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had called him in 2018 to seek reinstatement of the then suspended police officer Waze into the state police force.
Fadnavis had also accused the Shiv Sena of pressurising him over the demand then.
Asked about it, Deshmukh said Fadnavis’s allegation is “political” and added that decision on reinstating a junior rank official, like an API, is taken by a five-member committee at the level of commissioner’s office and not by the state government.
“He (Waze) was reinstated into the service after the committee took a call. He (Fadnavis) also knows that the allegation he levelled is political. He (Fadnavis) knows the files pertaining to the reinstatement of junior official do not come to the state government,” Deshmukh said.
Replying to a question whether there is pressure on him while working as the home minister, he said, “(There) definitely (is) no (pressure). See, I have been an MLA for 25 years. I have been in politics for around 30 years. There is no stain on me during these 30 years.”
Answering a question, Deshmukh, without naming any party or the Centre, said there were instances in which the CBI was used to harass leaders from opposition parties for political gains.
“The Maharashtra government then took a decision that the CBI cannot conduct probe without the states permission. Eight states took such a decision after we took this step. The CBI was used to harass politically,” he added.
To another query, Deshmukh said that although it has been eight months since the CBI started conducting probe into Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, the agency has not been able tell what conclusion it has reached.
When asked about BJP leaders often predicting the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, Deshmukh said the alliance is stable, and added that dreams of those willing to bring it down will shatter.
“When some of their (BJP’s) senior leaders meet us in private, they tell us that their MLAs will defect if they don’t keep saying so (that the MVA government will fall in two-three months),” he added.