After ‘CBI PE report gives clean chit’ to Deshmukh, Congress says case a conspiracy

The Congress on Sunday made public details of a 65-page preliminary enquiry (PE) report of the Central Bureau of Investigation which has recorded finding no evidence against former home minister Anil Deshmukh on allegedly placing a demand of Rs 100 crore as extortion target from Mumbai police officials.

The contents of the report have come as an embarrassment for the CBI investigating the claims by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh that Deshmukh had set `100 crore as extortion targets. The BJP too launched a strong attack on the state government based on Singh’s allegation.

The CBI, for its part, claimed that its investigation against Deshmukh is continuing. However, it has not denied the PE report is not authentic.

The report, which has been going viral, was filed by investigating officer RS Gunjyal, Deputy Superintendent of Police, CBI. It is not clear how the report came out in public domain. However, parts of the report were tweeted by Congress leader and party spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

The report finds that “no cognizable offence is made out against Anil Deshmukh” on the allegations that he had set `100 crore extortion target to assistant police inspector, Sachin Vaze. The report points out that Vaze was reinstated at the behest of the then Mumbai Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh and that there were several IPS officers who had objected to Vaze’s posting to the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU).

Vaze has been arrested by the NIA in connection with planting explosives near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house and killing a key witness, Mansukh Hiren, whose car was used to plant the explosives. Following the disclosures about Vaze, the then home minister Anil Deshmukh shunted out the then Mumbai Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh and he was posted as DG, Home Guards. Singh had then come out with an allegation that Deshmukh had set `100 crore extortion targets to cops.

In a damning report, the PE has questioned the truthfulness of Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh by stating, “It does not appear natural that despite Parambir Singh been informed in February 2021 about the corrupt practices of the then home minister, he chose to stay as a mute spectator, only until his issues of transfer posting came to the front.”

Regarding the allegations of Deshmukh setting extortion targets for Vaze as alleged by Singh, the report notes that Deshmukh’s meetings with Vaze were always with other police officers and there was no single meeting with Vaze.

Interestingly, the reports point out that there is ample evidence that Vaze was involved in extortion from dance bars and other establishments but “says it is not clear whether he was collecting this money for his own benefit or for any others”.

Regarding claims by Singh that ACP Sanjay Patil and DCP Raju Bhujbal were aware of the extortion targets set by Deshmukh, the PE notes, “ACP Sanjay Patil and DCP Raju Bhujbal have confirmed in their statements that no such demand for any collection of money was ever made by the HM directly or through his PA Sanjay Palande”. The report states that Vaze had told NIA that he had given `4 crore to one Kundan who was a PA to Deshmukh. But there was no evidence for the same.

“The Congress and NCP have latched on to the report and said that the entire allegations against Deshmukh and the subsequent probe were nothing but a ‘political vendetta’ by the BJP-ruled Centre.

“The truth has come out through this report. The Investigating Officer (IO) has clearly stated that there is no need for a further probe in the matter as there is no evidence against Anil Deshmukh. Yet, an FIR has been filed. The Supreme Court should order a judicial probe into the issue as there is a big conspiracy,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

BJP’s Kirit Somaiya wanted to know why Deshmukh was still in hiding if he has nothing to hide.

The CBI refuted the allegation claiming that an FIR was lodgedafter a decision by the competent authority.

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