A magistrate’s court in Mumbai on Wednesday declared former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh a “proclaimed offender” in an extortion case, PTI reported.

According to Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code, proclaimed offenders are accused persons who have a warrant against them and are absconding. Under the section the court can issue a notice to proclaimed offenders to appear within 30 days.

Last month, the Maharashtra government had told the Bombay High Court that Singh could not be traced. There is speculation that Singh might have fled India. Currently, there are three non-bailable warrants against him.

Singh and five other people, including dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Vaze, are being investigated by the Mumbai Police crime branch based on a complaint by developer Bimal Agarwal.

Agarwal had alleged that Singh and Vaze had extorted Rs 9 lakh from him for sparing his two bars from raids. The developer added that Vaze and Singh forced him to buy two smartphones for them which cost Rs 2.29 lakh.

On Wednesday, the Mumbai court also declared two co-accused in the case – Vinay Singh and Riyaz Bhatti – as proclaimed offenders.

Other allegations against Singh

Last month, the Thane Police had registered five FIRs under the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Atrocities Prevention) Act, the Civil Rights Protection Act and the Maharashtra Police Act against Singh and 32 others based on a complaint from Police Inspector Bhimrao Ghadge.

Ghadge had alleged that Singh, while he was posted as the Thane police chief in 2015, had asked him not to chargesheet certain persons against whom FIRs had been registered. Ghadge also alleged that he was suspended for refusing to follow Singh’s orders.

He had subsequently approached the State Human Rights Commission against Singh but was not granted relief. In 2018, he approached the Bombay High Court.