Steep fall for ex-Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh as suspension announced (Roundup)

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By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Dec 2 (IANS) In a first-ever for Maharashtra Police, serving DGP-rank IPS officer Param Bir Singh, who is also a former Police Commissioner of Mumbai and Thane, has been suspended, and disciplinary proceedings launched against him for various lapses, it was announced on Thursday.

The decision by the state government to suspend the 1988 batch IPS officer – who was declared a ‘Proclaimed Offender’ by a Mumbai Court in November – follows a probe report submitted by Additional Chief Secretary Debashish Chakravarti.

Among other things, the report had recommended action against Singh for defying the All India Civil Service Rules, sudden “unauthorised absence from duty” after which he became “untraceable” for nearly six months before resurfacing a week ago (last Thursday) in Mumbai.

Following his removal as city police chief, Singh had come under a scanner after he penned a “letter-bomb” to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in March, making allegations of corruption against then Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who was compelled to quit his post.

“The Government of Maharashtra is satisfied that it is necessary and desirable to place Parambir Singh under suspensiona in accordance with the Rule 3(1) and Rule 3(3) of the All India Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969,” said the 3-page letter signed by Joint Secretary, Home, Venkatesh Bhat, and sent through DGP Sanjay Pandey, this evening.

In a huge fall from grace, now Singh himself faces several cases pertaining to extortion and corruption, complaints lodged in Mumbai and Thane police stations, bailable and non-bailable arrest warrants, which were cancelled later, plus a probe by the government-appointed retired Justice K.U. Chandiwal Commission of Enquiry.

The suspension order lists the cases registered against him at Marine Drive Police Station in Mumbai, and in Thane district at Bazarpeth Police Station, Kalyan, Kopari Police Station and Thane Nagar Police Station, both in Thane city.

The state government will also probe the suspended officer for various “irregularities and lapses”, and unauthorised absence from duties, as part of the disciplinary action proceedings.

The rapid-fire developments came after Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil indicated last week that suspension proceedings against Singh were underway and finally culminated with Chief Minister Thackeray signing the orders.

Born in Chandigarh, Singh served in several critical postings before being made the Mumbai Police Commissioner on February 29, 2020, which he held till he was abruptly shunted out on March 18, 2021.

As Mumbai Police chief, he had guided some of the biggest cases including the Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case, the sensational TRP scam, and the case of architect Anway Naik and his mother Kumud Naik which was linked with the Republic TV Chief Editor Arnab Goswami.

Earlier, when he was Police Commissioner in Thane, Singh earned accolades as his team nabbed dreaded extortionist Iqbal Ibrahim Kaskar, brother of absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, and busted one of the biggest international narcotics rackets worth over Rs 2,000 crore, involving wanted drugs kingpin Vicky Goswami and his wife, Bollywood ex-actress Mamta Kulkarni.

However, his downfall started after a SUV parked with 20 gelatin sticks and a threat note was found abandoned near Antilia, the home of business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, and the subsequent murder of its owner Mansukh Hiran.

The investigations threw up the shocking involvement of some of Singh’s most trusted aides like sacked cop Sachin Vaze, retired cop Pradeep Sharma and others, leading to his shunting upstairs as the Commandant General of Maharashtra State Home Guards.

He immediately hit back by targeting Deshmukh, levelling allegations of extortion and corruption – of which he later said were based on ‘hearsay’ and he had no evidence of it.

Nevertheless, Deshmukh, 71, had to quit, faced action by various agencies, was finally arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on November 2 and is currently in judicial custody.

Apprehending possible action by the Mumbai Police, Singh continued to move various courts until the Supreme Court finally granted him protection against arrest till December 6 with orders to join the ongoing probes.

Armed with the apex court protection, he surfaced in Chandigarh and came to Mumbai, attended various probes and exactly a week later, got suspended.

The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies – Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress – had repeatedly accused the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of shielding him, but the latter dismissed the contentions.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at q.najmi@ians.in)

–IANS
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