Suspended cop Sachin Waze on Wednesday claimed former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had demanded Rs 2 crore from him to continue his service in the Mumbai police and alleged another minister Anil Parab asked him to collect money from contractors.
Transport Minister Parab rejected the allegations made by Waze, saying they were incorrect and aimed at maligning his image, and expressed readiness to face any probe.
Waze, who was reinstated in the police service last year, made the sensational claim in a letter which he tried to submit before a special National Investigation Agency court in Mumbai.
However, special judge PR Sitre refused to take his letter on record and asked him to follow the required procedure.
Waze, an accused in the case of an explosives-laden car found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence in south Mumbai and the death of businessman Mansukh Hiran, is currently in the NIA custody.
Deshmukh, a senior Nationalist Congress Party leader, resigned as home minister on Monday after the Bombay high court ordered a Central Bureua of Investigation probe into corruption allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The controversial assistant police inspector said NCP president Sharad Pawar, whose party is a key constituent in the MVA government, apparently wanted him to be placed under suspension again.
"I duly was reinstated in service on June 6, 2020. That soon after my reinstatement there were certain agitators (people, who wanted) to reverse the reinstatement.
"Apparently, then it was ordered by Sharad Pawar to again place me under suspension.
"That, at that time the then home minister sir (Deshmukh) also told me that he will convince Pawar saheb and for that purpose he (Deshmukh) asked me to pay Rs 2 crore," Waze claimed in the four-page handwritten letter.
Waze (49) said he expressed his inability to pay such a huge sum.
"I had expressed my inability to pay such an amount. On this, the home minister sir asked me to pay in later course," he added.
Waze claimed that at a meeting in the Sahyadri guest house in south Mumbai, Deshmukh had asked him to look into a complaint related to the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust which was under preliminary enquiry.
SBUT is a non-profit organisation tasked with carrying out a mega redevelopment project in the Bhendi Bazaar area of south Mumbai.
Deshmukh had asked him to bring the trustees of the SBUT to him for "negotiation" about the enquiry, Waze claimed.
"He also insisted to initiate primary talks to get Rs 50 crore from the SBUT in order to close the said enquiry. I had expressed my inability to do any such things as I do not know anyone from the SBUT and I also did not have any control over the enquiry," Waze added.
Waze's letter claimed that in January 2021, another state minister Anil Parab asked him to look into an inquiry against "fraudulent" contractors listed in the BMC and collectat least Rs 2 crore from about 50 such contractors.
The said inquiry was based on an anonymous complaint, Waze added.
Parab, a Shiv Sena leader, rejected Waze's claims and said he was ready to face any probe into the allegations.
Talking to reporters, Parab said, "I swear in the name of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and my two daughters that I haven't done anything wrong."
He said there was a BJP strategy to malign the image of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the MVA government.
"By targeting me, a close aide of the chief minister, they think they can put the government in trouble. BJP leaders have been saying for the last two days that another wicket will fall. This conspiracy was being hatched that time as they knew Waze will give such a letter," Parab said.
The letter also claimed that Deshmukh had asked Waze to collect Rs 3 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh each from around 1,650 bars and restaurants in Mumbai (this claimed had been made by Waze earlier also).
The suspended cop claimed to have informed the then police commissioner Singh about these developments.
"I also expressed my apprehension to (Singh) that somewhere in the future I would be embroiled in a false controversy," he added.
"The then CP encouraged me and categorically instructed me to not to involve in any such illegal collection of money from anyone and for anyone," Waze claimed.
Singh had earlier claimed that Deshmukh had asked police officers to extort Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants. Deshmukh has denied any wrongdoing.
Waze also claimed that in November 2020, he was approached by a person called Darshan Ghodawat.
Ghodawat had introduced himself as a "very close circle person" of a senior cabinet minister and explained to him about the illegal gutkha and tobacco trade in Maharashtra, Waze said.
"Ghodawat insisted that I should collect Rs 100 crore from these illegal gutkha sellers. I had categorically (said no to) do any such illegal act," Waze added.
Meanwhile, the NIA custody of Waze, arrested by the central agency on March 13, was extended till April 9 by the special court.
Waze was reinstated in June last year after being under suspension for over 15 years for his alleged role in a custodial death case.
Credited with eliminating 63 alleged criminals in encounters, the 1990-batch officer of the state cadre was suspended in 2004 over his alleged role in the custodial death of the 2002 Ghatkopar blast suspect Khwaja Yunus.