During cross examination before panel, Sachin Waze says: ‘Had already succumbed’

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Dismissed assistant police inspector (API) Sachin Waze, who is being cross-examined before a state-appointed commission inquiring into the extortion allegations levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh against former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh, said he had “succumbed” to Deshmukh’s demand to collect money from establishments in Mumbai.

In an “open letter” to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh had detailed purported directions by Deshmukh to Waze to collect money from bars and restaurants to the tune of Rs 100 crore during a meeting between the two at Deshmukh’s official residence when he was home minister.

In a signed affidavit to the commission, Waze, currently behind bars after his arrest by the NIA in the Antilia security scare case, had testified to the meeting with Deshmukh. In the affidavit, Waze said he refused to make these collections.

During his cross examination by Deshmukh’s lawyer Anita Castellino, Waze was asked about a specific part of the affidavit in which he said that he had met Singh and informed him about the meeting with Deshmukh in January, and during which Deshmukh had purportedly asked him to collect Rs 3.5 lakh from each of the 1,650 bars and restaurants in Mumbai.

Quoting from the affidavit, Castellino said: “’He(Singh) said do not fall to this pressure’. Is this true?” To this, Waze replied “yes”. When she further asked if Waze had taken the advice of Singh, he said: “I had already succumbed.”

Friday was the fourth day of Waze’s cross-examination before the commission. It will continue next week when both Singh and Deshmukh are to produced before it.

The commission was formed by the government after Singh in his letter to the CM raised allegations of corruption against Deshmukh.

In the letter, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh’s private secretary Sanjeev Palande was present when Deshmukh asked Waze to collect money from bars and restaurants.

Waze said in his deposition said that no demand for money was made to him by Palande. He accepted that he met him at Dnyaneshwari, the official residence of the home minister, once more in February 2021 and knew him as secretary to the home minister.

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