Mumbai: Controversial police officer Sachin Waze, now suspended, was reinstated in the Crime Intelligence Unit in June last year on the insistence of then Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh despite the strong objection raised by then Joint CP (crime), as per a report submitted by the Mumbai Police to the state Home department.
The report stated Waze bypassed hierarchy and reported directly to then Commissioner of Police (read Param Bir Singh), and he even attended ministerial-level briefings along with the CP in important cases like the TRP scam, DC (Dilip Chhabria) car finance case, Mukesh Ambani security scare case.
As per the convention, the CIU is headed by an officer of the rank of the police inspector, but the same was set aside in the case of Waze who is Assistant Police Inspector (API), an official said quoting the report.
Waze is currently in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the cases of planting of an explosives-laden SUV outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani and the subsequent murder of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, the purported owner of that vehicle.
The decision to reinstate the “encounter specialist” Waze, who was suspended after the alleged custodial death of bomb blast accused Khwaja Yunus in 2003, in the Mumbai Police force was taken at a meeting held on June 5, 2020.
That meeting was attended by then Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Param Bir Singh), Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration), Additional Commissioner of Police (Local Arms) and DCP, Mantralaya Security, as per the report.
On June 8, Waze was posted in the crime branch after a meeting of the establishment committee cleared his name.
The order of his posting was issued on June 9, the official said.
The reason given for revoking the suspension of Waze and 56 other police officers and staffers, was the shortage of manpower due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The report said then Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) had raised a strong objection against Waze’s posting in the CIU. However, on the insistence of then CP Mumbai (Param Bir Singh), the order was issued “out of helplessness” on June 9 and Waze joined the CIU, he said.
On May 25 (2020), Param Bir Singh had written a letter to then JCP (Crime) directing that posting of any senior police inspector and unit in charge will be finalised only after obtaining the prior permission of the commissioner of police, the report said.
During Waze’s stint with the CIU from June 10, 2020 to March 12, 2021 (he was arrested by the NIA on March 13), he used to report to the Mumbai police commissioner independently and used to carry investigation under his guidance, it said.
Waze used to take orders from the then Mumbai police commissioner on matters like which illegal activity should be raided and which to be ignored; whom to arrest and whom not to etc, the report said.
Key decisions related to the investigation in various cases were also taken by Waze on the directions of the then Mumbai CP, the official said citing the report.
Waze used to consult then Mumbai CP on aspects of investigations included summoning witnesses or accused persons in important cases; moving remand applications and anticipatory bail applications, and points to be added through the CIU, the official said.
Waze didn’t report to any senior police officer in the crime branch. Sometimes, he used to share information about the investigation in certain cases only during unofficial discussions, the official said.
The API had also asked CIU officers not to report to senior officers in the crime branch, the report said.
Waze used to attend ministerial-level briefings from time to time along with then Mumbai police commissioner in all important cases like TRP scam, DC car finance case, Mukesh Ambani security scare case etc, the report mentioned.
Waze used to convey to senior officers in the crime branch the decisions taken at the higher level regarding the direction of investigation in these cases and also the points discussed during these meetings, it stated.
The report further said the Mumbai Police had allotted three vehicles to the CIU for official use, but Waze used to come to the office, located in the compound of the office of the Commissioner of Police in south Mumbai, in high-end luxury cars like Mercedes Benz, Audi and other private vehicles.
After arresting Waze, the NIA conducted searches at the CIU office on March 15 and seized important documents and other materials from his cabin.
Earlier on Wednesday, Param Bir Singh, who is currently the director general of the Home Guards, recorded his statement before the NIA, which is probing the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case and the subsequent murder of Hiran.
Singh, who reached the NIA office in south Mumbai in a car around 9.30 am, left around 1.15 pm, an official said.
Former “encounter specialist” police officer Pradeep Sharma also appeared before the NIA on Wednesday, an official said.
Sharma reached the NIA office around 12.40 pm, he said.
It cannot be known whether NIA confronted Sharma with Singh at the office.
Sharma used to be a trusted officer of Param Bir Singh when the latter headed the Thane police.
Before taking voluntary retirement, Sharma had headed the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Thane crime branch.
He unsuccessfuly contested the 2019 Assembly election from Nalasopara in Palghar district of Maharashtra.
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