NEW DELHI: In what started as a terror probe by the ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) after a gelatin stick laden Mahindra Scorpio was found outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai, has now expanded into a multi-agency investigation into a terror-cum-extortion racket operated with the alleged blessings of top ministers and police officers.
A top source said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is waiting for the preliminary investigation report from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to launch its own money laundering probe under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against main accused Sachin Waze, a sub inspector posted with the Crime Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai police and the main suspect behind Mukesh Ambani terror case.
Waze’s call records and allegations made by his superiors have revealed he was directly taking orders from Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.
The probe against Waze, who is currently in NIA custody, is likely to be taken over by the ED to establish a money trail in the alleged terror-cum-extortion racket, in which the role of some senior ministers of the Sena-NCP-Congress government is not ruled out.
On Saturday afternoon, former Mumbai police Commissioner Param Bir Singh sent a letter to the chief minister and the governor of Maharashtra stating that home minister Anil Deshmukh had given a target to Waze and some other senior cops for “collection” of Rs 100 crore every month.
The claims made by the former Mumbai police commissioner have rattled the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government with Sharad Pawar of the NCP, one of the three constituents of the MVA besides Shiv Sena and Congress, leaving the decision of sacking the home minister to CM Uddhav Thackery.
The BJP has already demanded removal of Deshmukh and demanded a multi-agency probe into the extortion racket. The former Mumbai police commissioner has alleged that the conversation related to collection of Rs 100 crore between Waze and the state home minister took place in presence of the latter’s personal secretary Palande at the Home minister’s residence.
Singh has also placed on record as evidence his conversations with other senior cops, including Waze’s supervisory authority, an ACP rank official, corroborating these facts.