Problems and FIRs seem to be mounting for former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. In a recent turn of events, Mumbai police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) is probing the recordings of threat calls made by gangster Chhota Shakeel to one businessman Sanjay Punamia in Mumbai.
As per a report in Mid-Day, The initial complaint said that the threats were made at the behest of Punamia’s business partner Shyam Sunder Agarwal. However, SIT now suspects that the case against Agarwal is fake. It is imperative to know that Agarwal is a complainant in the FIR filed against Param Bir Singh. SIT also suspects the Mumbai Police cops who were allegedly involved in the extortion racket may be behind these calls.
Calls made by Chhota Shakeel
The police informed that the phone number from which the threat calls were made to the businessman Punamia, were found in the records of the Mumbai Crime Branch and belongs to Shakeel. They also informed that these audio recordings of Shakeel- a close aide of gangster Dawood Ibrahim, were the latest.
A report by ABP News says that the caller threatened the person with death threats and killing them with bombs. The person giving such threats is believed to be gangster Chhota Shakeel.
“Karachi se hi rocket maarunga”
In one audio clip, one can hear a man, believed to be Chhota Shakeel asking one Sanjay what is he up to. “I told you to talk to Dilip bhai and settle. I am at Bhai’s place. Why did you get Shyam bhai involved?” In another audio clip, he could be heard saying that he had called four times about documents.
In one conversation, Shakeel was allegedly asking about Agarwal’s detention. “To tune shyam ko andar kyu karaya?….mai bhai ke ghar se baat kar raha hu … tere ko idhar from Karachi se hi rocket marunga (I’m speaking from bhai’s house in Karachi. Will blow you up with a rocket).”
The excerpts of the recordings of the calls allegedly made by Chhota Shakeel to Punamia in possession of Mid-day reveal the threats given.
In another conversation Shakeel threatens, “dekho ek baat clear batao pakistan ka to tujhe pata hai na..kya hai pakistan (Clear this thing. You know about here, what is Pakistan)….idhar bomb bandhega udhar jayega … uda dega tere ko khatam ho jayegi baat (We will tie a bomb here, it will reach there. We will end you).”
The number has been traced back to Karachi. An officer of Mumbai Crime Branch in an interview to Mid-day informed, “The number belongs to Shakeel and the voice in the calls is also suspected to be his. But the voice needs to be authenticated with the real samples available with MCOCA court. But it has been delayed due to the lockdown.”
Threats to Punamia
As per the report, Punamia received threat calls from Shakeel between November 2016 to December 2016, then again between November 26 and November 30, 2020, to sign a deed of settlement with Agarwal (then Punamia’s business partner) for some properties.
However, Punamia suspecting his business partner Agarwal’s involvement registered a complaint with Juhu police only in February 2021. After this, an FIR was filed against Agarwal and later, the Crime Branch invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against him.
SIT suspects FIR against Agarwal to be fake
An officer privy to the investigation said, “We have various recordings and digital evidence to believe that the FIR (against Agarwal) was filed with malicious intentions by the officers being probed by the SIT.”
The investigation team suspects that the FIR was filed with the intention to extort money and to pressurize Agarwal into signing the deed with his disputed partner Punamia.
The SIT under Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Nimit Goyal, which is probing the extortion case against Param Bir Singh, is also investigating why the FIR against Agarwal was filed in February 2021 when the threat calls were made in 2016 and 2020.
Threat calls were made when Param Bir Singh was the commissioner
Reportedly, Shakeel’s threat calls were made exactly when Singh was the CP of Thane in 2016 and then of Mumbai in 2020.
Agarwal was also arrested by Thane Crime Branch in 2016 for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore Urban Land Ceiling Regulation Act (ULCRA) scam which was busted in November that year.
With as many as 19 FIRs registered against him in Thane and Mumbai, Agarwal has a long criminal record. How many of these allegations and complaints against Agarwal were proved is not known.
Suspected involvement of Param Bir Singh
The Marine Drive Police had arrested Punamia and one Sunil Jain in an extortion racket case last month. An FIR in the same case was filed against Param Bir Singh as well by the Marine Drive police.
Police sources now suspect that the two accused arrested and officers named in the extortion case might have asked Shakeel to take Agarwal’s name in his threat call so that they can frame him as and when needed.
A police source revealed, “There are various reasons and prima facie evidence to investigate the same because Agarwal was the complainant against Iqbal Kaskar (Dawood Ibrahim’s brother) in a case. Kaskar was arrested in 2017 by Thane Anti Extortion Cell.”
At that time, the Thane Anti Extortion Cell was headed by former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma while Param Bir Singh was the commissioner of Police in Thane.
While Sharma was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in connection with the Antilia bomb threat case and the alleged murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, Param Bir Singh is being probed for corruption and extortion.
Agarwal’s nephew filed extortion case against Param Bir Singh
The Thane Kopri police station registered another extortion FIR against Singh last month. The complaint has been filed by Agarwal’s nephew Sharad.
Sharad alleged that a DCP-rank officer demanded Rs 20 crore at Singh’s bungalow in Thane to avoid the registration of a case against his uncle in February 2021 under MCOCA. Again at that time, it was Singh who was the Commissioner of Police, Thane.
Builder files complaint against Singh
In another latest update, one builder Ketan Tanna (54) has registered a complaint against Singh alleging extortion and other crimes.
The accused mentioned in the complaint include the present and past police officers along with “middlemen and agents” of the police from Thane.