Dismissed Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze told the Enforcement Directorate that former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh wanted Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami arrested in the Television Ratings Points scam case, reported Bar and Bench on Friday.
Vaze made the statement to the assistant director of the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case against Deshmukh and his associates.
The central agency had filed a case on the basis of a First Information Report by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is looking into allegations that Deshmukh coerced police officers to extort money on his behalf f rom the owners of bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
The Enforcement Directorate has claimed that more than Rs 4 crore collected from bar owners between December and February was routed to Deshmukh’s charitable trust in Nagpur through four shell companies in Delhi.
Deshmukh, however, has not been named as an accused in the chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate. The agency said that Deshmukh has failed to appear before it several times for interrogation. Vaze is one of the 14 accused persons in the case, including Deshmukh’s private secretary and private assistant.
In his statement to the Enforcement Directorate, Vaze said that Deshmukh used to instruct him directly about various cases including the TRP scam, Goswami’s arrest in a suicide case, the Dilip Chhabria case and social media fake follower case.
“In Dilip Chhabria case, Shri Anil Deshmukh wanted me to get some kind of settlement with his partner of approximately Rs 150 crore,” Vaze said. “In social media fake follower case, he wanted to have all-out action against the culprits.”
Goswami and two others are accused for abetting suicide of a man called Anvay Naik in 2018. Naik and his mother were found dead in their home in Kavir village near Mumbai. A suicide note had said that Goswami and the two others had not paid dues amounting to Rs 5.4 crore.
Dilip Chhabria is a car designer who was arrested by Vaze on charges of cheating and forgery in December, reported Mid-Day.
The social media fake follower case pertains to a racket to create crores of fake identities on various social media platforms, ultimately producing fake performance statistics such as followers, comments and views, according to The Indian Express. Social media users can then buy these fake followers to increase their performance as “influencers”.
Vaze also alleged that state Transport Minister Anil Parab and Deshmukh had received Rs 40 crore from 10 deputy commissioners of police to reverse their transfer order issued by the then city police chief Param Bir Singh.
“Out of it, Rs 20 crore each was given to Anil Deshmukh through Personal Secretary Sanjeev Palande and Anil Parab through Regional Transport Officer Bajrang Karmate,” Vaze claimed.
Singh was the one who had levelled the extortion allegations against Deshmukh in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in March.
‘I was only saving my job’
Vaze further defended his role in the money laundering case, according to Live Law. The dismissed police officer claimed that he has not received any money from the collections he made on behalf of Deshmukh or any other dealings.
“Further, I had compulsion and political pressure to save my job after getting reinstated in the police force which resulted in doing these dealings on the instructions of Shri Anil Deshmukh,” he claimed.
The dismissed police officer alleged that Deshmukh had assured him that he would be reinstated into the police force after his supension in 2004. He claimed that Deshmukh asked him to pay Rs 2 crore after he was reinstated last year.
Vaze was suspended for his alleged role in the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus, an accused person in Ghatkopar blast case that happened in 2003.
Vaze also claimed Singh did not have any role to play in the case against Deshmukh. Vaze said that he informed the former Mumbai police officer about Deshmukh instructions on collecting money and Singh advised him to not do anything illegal.
“However, Param Bir Singh was not having any knowledge that I was following these instructions of collecting money from Orchestra Bar for Anil Deshmukh,” he claimed.