Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh faced cross examination on the second day before the Chandiwal Commission and this time, he was questioned by dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze himself.
As the day started, Sachin Vaze asked the home minister some personal details about his political career. He questions Deshmukh, that if he has received any training for becoming a minister. To which Deshmukh replied, "There is no procedure followed anywhere in India" and said no.
Checking Deshmukh's working knowledge as a home minister, he asked if he could differentiate between cadre and non-cadre postings in the police service, to which Deshmukh said, "I know the difference but I will not be able to differentiate and give terminology."
When Vaze asked if he knew the difference between Special IG and IGP (two police posts), the former minister replied, "I do not wish to reply."
Vaze will be questioning Deshmukh further on January 24. In the meantime, he filed an application seeking that Mumbai's Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Milind Bharambe be called as a witness.
Following the allegations levelled by Singh against Deshmukh, the Maharashtra government had asked Bharambe to give a report on Vaze and other officers mentioned in Singh's letter. The report is part of the commission's record.
Vaze states that Bharambe's report is "in totality prejudicial to his interest" and has even highlighted certain portions of the report to put forward his case. Justice Chandiwal has asked other witnesses before the commission to reply to Vaze's request by Monday and after that he will pass an order on Jan 24.
As per the India Today reports, the commission is probing the allegations levelled by by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh of corruption and misuse of office. Singh had written a letter to the Chief Minister (CM) on March 20, 2021 giving details of the allegation and mentioning how some police officers including Vaze were asked to extort money.
On March 30, 2021 the Maharashtra government issued a resolution (GR) which set up the Chandiwal commission. Deshmukh replied to Vaze's question by stating, "When Param Bir Singh's letter came, I told the CM that the allegations are malicious and false, I suggested to CM to call for an enquiry. He agreed."
Vaze insisted that the commission should record whether Deshmukh was part of the GR order or not. "A yes or a no has to come on record so I put it to you that you were participant to the GR dated March 30," said Vaze. However Deshmukh said, "I deny the suggestion. I requested the CM for appointment of the committee and thereafter he may have initiated the formation of the committee."
Vaze asked Deshmukh, "When did you get to know that I was appointed as chief of Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU)?"
Deshmukh said, "I received some complaints that Vaze who was suspended for 15 years has been reinstated and was appointed in crime branch and the very next day appointed to CIU. Generally when suspended officers are reinstated then they are posted to side branch. Vaze was in crime branch posting for only one day and with oral direction of Param Bir Singh he was appointed CIU chief. The post of CIU is held by police officer of police inspector rank while Vaze was only an Assistant police inspector (API). Joint commissioner Santosh Rastogi had taken objection to Vaze posting as CIU head."
Vaze further asked, "Can you mention the rule under which an API cannot be appointed as incharge of any unit, more particularly in CIU." Deshmukh looked through some documents and said, "I felt that there should have been a rule that is why Joint Commissioner level officer was taking such objection."
Deshmukh added that he had received several oral complaints and could not give out any name to say who had complained against Vaze. "Department may have received written complaints. I do not remember any particular individual," he said.