PTI / ANI
In the latest development in the Vazegate scandal, two Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) teams reached the National Investigation Agency (NIA) office on Friday to record the statement of suspended Mumbai Police API Sachin Vaze - who is in the latter's custody. The CBI will record Sachin Vaze's statement for the second consecutive day after it recorded the statements of the suspended API along with ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and ACP Patil on Thursday.
As per sources, CBI has also moved the NIA court seeking access to the diaries belonging to Sachin Vaze and suspended constable Vinayak Shinde that were recovered by the NIA earlier. The diary recovered by the NIA revealed that Vinayak Shinde, who was convicted in the 2006 Lakhan Bhaiya case and is currently out on parole, was allegedly collecting 'protection money' from over 30 bars and clubs in Mumbai on behalf of the now-suspended Mumbai Police API Sachin Vaze.
Meanwhile, Sachin Vaze will be produced before the special NIA court at 2.45 pm on Friday as his extended custody with the agency concludes. Sources informed that while one CBI team left the NIA office close to noon, few officials remained back at the agency's office.
As per sources, Param Bir Singh reiterated his 'extortion' charge against former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh while he recorded his statement with the CBI on Thursday and submitted the messages he received from ACP Patil. Sources added that Param Bir Singh also submitted a few documents and the details of key meetings. Previously, a team of CBI officers had also recorded complainant Jaishri Patil's statement.
Meanwhile, former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma was also summoned by the NIA on Thursday after suspended API Sachin Vaze allegedly named him in his confession. The former cop & Shiv Sena leader was questioned for over seven-and-a-half fours on Wednesday following which he was once again summoned on Thursday.
The Supreme Court refused to provide relief to former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday and maintained that it would not interfere with the High Court order directing a CBI probe. Anil Deshmukh had filed a plea at the apex court challenging the Bombay HC's order while also questioning the credentials of the central agency to probe into the allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices SK Kaul and Hemant Gupta heard the matter on Thursday.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the NCP leader has resigned as the Home Minister making case for a probe by state agencies. Countering Singhvi's arguments, Justice Gupta pointed out that Deshmukh had not resigned when the Commission of Inquiry was constituted by the State, thereby showing that the NCP leader was 'clinging' to the office. Justice Kaul also noted that the allegations are not levelled by Deshmukh's 'enemy' but almost his 'right-hand man' as Param Bir Singh was Mumbai's top cop under the Home Minister.
Appearing for former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Kapil Sibal argued that there was no 'evidentiary value' to the accusations levelled by Param Bir Singh. Terming it to be 'hearsay,' Sibal said that the accusations are not 'prima facie reliable and not admissible'. "It will be a sad day in this country if your Lordships will uphold an order like this. Let me go to HC. But, an order like this cannot be passed behind my back," Sibal argued. Pronouncing the order, Justice Kaul maintained that the SC bench is not inclined towards interfering in the Bombay High Court order.
"Facts are very important. It’s not about a political rival. Here is a very senior officer making allegations about a very senior Minister," Justice Kaul observed during the hearing.