Former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh – who has faced at least four extortion cases in Maharashtra and has been missing since October, has reportedly fled the country – appearing at the office of City Police’s Crime Branch Unit 11 on Thursday morning.
“I will join the investigation as per the court order,” Mr Singh told reporters at the Mumbai airport today, after taking off from Chandigarh, where he had appeared yesterday.
On Monday, the Supreme Court raised eyebrows to protect the former Mumbai top police from arrest. He was asked to join an investigation into allegations of extortion against him.
Param Vir Singh “does not want to be a fugitive and does not want to flee anywhere” but his life was threatened, his lawyer told the court that Mr Singh was actually in India.
“I should not appear in court because I am afraid. I have full faith in the system. I am ready to appear in CBI court (but) I am being hit. I am suffering …” Mr Singh pleaded.
A confused court responded: “If the former police commissioner of Mumbai says he is under threat from the Mumbai police, what kind of message does it send?”
“Officers will join the investigation. But no arrests will be made,” the court eventually ruled.
The same court last week refused to grant Mr Singh any such protection, sternly asking him to reveal himself first. “Where are you? Are you in this country or out? In which state? Where are you? There is no protection until you are where you are,” the court said.
Param Bir Singh has not worked since May – when he was transferred as Mumbai Police Commissioner and later Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was accused of corruption; Mr Deshmukh has since been arrested and is now in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate.
Mumbai police told the court they had no idea where he was.
On November 17, a Mumbai court ruled that Mr Singh could be declared a “fugitive”, meaning he could be considered a fugitive from the law.
A notice of that effect was pasted outside his home in the Juhu area of the city earlier this week.
Param Vir Singh was transferred after the arrest of Mumbai police officer Sachin Waje in the Mukesh Ambani bomb threat case (an SUV loaded with explosives was found near Mr Ambani’s house) and the subsequent suspicious death of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
Despite being an assistant police inspector, Mr. Waze was known to be close to Param Bir Singh and had direct contact with him. Mr Singh was transferred in March – following the arrest of Sachin Waz by the NIA.
Following his transfer (to the Home Guard), Mr. Singh made a sensational allegation against Mr. Deshmukh, accusing him of soliciting bribes from hotel officers and hotel and bar owners.
Deshmukh has denied the allegations.
With input from PTI