Over the last few weeks, Param Bir Singh – the Mumbai Commissioner of Police has become the focal point of severe criticism across social media platforms. One of the major reasons for Singh being under fire is the criticism thrown in the way of Mumbai Police over the investigation done in Sushant Singh Rajput death case.
The controversy began after Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh addressed a press conference to claim that it had come to the notice of Mumbai Police that the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput was suffering from a bipolar disorder and undergoing treatment for it. The Mumbai Police Commissioner had claimed that the actor Sushant Singh Rajput had searched for words like ‘painless death’, ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘bipolar disorder’ before his death.
However, the ‘suicide theory’ pushed by the Mumbai Police was soon questioned after there were contrary reports to Param Bir Singh’s claims. A Times Now report had suggested that the actor had searched for properties, farms in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Coorg before his death, which was contrary to Singh’s claims.
A few days later, Param Bir Singh had embroiled in another major controversy after he was found ‘liking’ a tweet bullying and attempting to publicly shame the Bollywood actress. Kangana Ranaut had accused him of bullying and attempting to encourage people to publicly shame her. However, after facing severe embarrassment over their insensitive act on social media, Mumbai Police had responded on the matter claiming that they had never liked any such image.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that Param Bir Singh has involved in such controversies. In fact, Param Bir Singh and controversies go hand-in-hand as in his career spanning nearly three-decades Singh’s name has appeared in various high-profile controversies.
Param Bir Singh gave clean chit to Ajit Pawar in irrigation scam
Param Bir Singh, IPS officer of the 1988-batch, was appointed as the Mumbai police commissioner in February this year. Singh, prior to his appointment as the Mumbai Police, he was the Director-General (DG) of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Param Bir Singh’s tenure at the Maharashtra ACB was also controversial. In December last year, the ACB under Singh had given a clean chit to then Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam. Ajit Pawar was accused in a scam involving 12 Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) projects.
Param Bir Singh accused of framing false drug charges
According to Indian Express, in 2009, Param Bir Singh was accused of falsely framing the co-owner of Provogue, Salil Chaturvedi in a drug case. During his tenure as ACP Western Zone, Singh and his team had arrested Salil Chaturvedi in connection with the drug case. However, years later in 2009, Chaturvedi was finally acquitted for lack of evidence.
Following the release of Chaturvedi, the Bombay High Court had directed the Pune-based State CID to conduct an investigation into the role of policemen. After the investigation, the Maharashtra CID had found that some police officers had planted cocaine in Chaturvedi’s residence.
According to Mumbai Mirror, Ashok Bhosale – one of the policemen who raided Salil Chaturvedi had confessed that he was asked to plant drugs in the residence of the businessman on the instructions of senior police officers. Later, interestingly, Bhosale had retracted his confessions to the CID. The CID had alleged that the retraction by Bhosale was due to the alleged interference of Param Bir Singh.
Allegations of torture against Param Bir Singh
One of the most controversial tenures of Param Bir Singh was during his days at the ATS. Param Bir Singh, who was the Additional Commissioner of Police (ATS), was accused of severe torture by current Bhopal MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Sadhvi.
According to a Zee News report, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur had alleged that she was subjected to extreme torture by the Mumbai ATS to make her forcefully confess to her role in the alleged ‘saffron terror case’. Making serious allegations against then members of the Mumbai ATS, Sadhvi Pragya had disclosed that ATS officers including Param Bir Singh had kept her in illegal detention and tortured her for 13 days.
Sadhvi Pragya had alleged that Khanvilkar, Parambir Singh and (late) Hemant Karkare – all men – tortured her. Never before or after Independence, a woman has been tortured like she was, Sadhvi Pragya had said.
“ATS officials threatened to strip me and hang me upside down if I did not confess about my involvement in the blast. I am mentally disturbed and not able to eat anything,” Sadhvi had told before a judge in 2008.
Another accused and retired army officer Ramesh Upadhyay had also made similar accusations against Singh saying he was tortured by Additional Commissioner of Police (ATS) Parambir Singh and Sukhwinder Singh in custody.
“Parambir and Sukhwinder physically abused me and then threatened to parade my wife and daughter naked in the police station and get them raped by all the officers here,” Upadhyay had said.
Petition against Param Bir Singh for dereliction of duty during 26/11 terror attack
In 2009, soon after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, a petition was filed against Parambir Singh and three other additional commissioners of police on the charges of dereliction of duty during the Mumbai terror attack.
A Public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against these officers and their suspension on the charges that officers such as Param Bit Singh had failed to follow orders of the then police commissioner.
The petitioner had claimed that had the senior officers obeyed the orders, the terror situation would have been brought under control much earlier and many lives could have been saved. The petitions said that if the officers had acted properly, two more terrorists could have been caught alive.
The petition had quoted former Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor as saying that these officers had disobeyed his orders and failed to perform their during the Mumbai terror attack. The petition said that the officers had refused to combat with the terrorists and preferred to stay away from the trouble-zones and made false reports to the control room and records.