In a significant development, a magistrate''s court in Mumbai on Wednesday accepted a plea moved by the Mumbai Police to declare ex-city Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and two others as ''Proclaimed Offenders'' for their alleged involvement in an extortion case lodged against them.
The development follows an application filed by the Mumbai Police seeking a declaration to this effect with regard to Singh and two others, who are ''untraceable'' since several months now.
Allowing the police plea, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S.B. Bhajpale passed the order in the matter.
Earlier, courts in Mumbai and Thane had issued non-bailable warrants against the ex-Mumbai top cop, presently designated as Director-General, Maharashtra Home Guards.
Besides Singh, the police had sought a similar declaration against two other co-accused in the case -- suspended policeman Riyaz Bhati and Vinay alias Bablu Singh.
The police said that now the accused trio must appear before the court within 30 days, failing which proceedings to attach their assets could be initiated as per the law.
The three had been accused in a case filed based on a complaint lodged by Mumbai hotelier Bimal Agarwal against the trio, besides dismissed cop Sachin Vaze, in an extortion case.
Agarwal had alleged in his complaint that Singh and Vaze had extorted cash and valuables worth Rs 11 lakh from him for not ''raiding'' his restaurant in January 2020 and March 2021.
Showing the NBWs against Singh to Bhajipale, advocate Shekhar Jagtap, appearing for the Mumbai Police, said that the police had deputed teams to execute the warrants at the last known addresses of the accused trio.
However, they failed to trace them and also learnt that the accused have not visited their homes since the case was lodged against them, and their present whereabouts are not known.
There have been allegations from various politicians that Singh may have sneaked out of the country to evade action planned by the Mumbai Police against him in various cases.
The police sought that the missing trio be declared as ''offenders'' under the CrPC Section 82, which was allowed by Bhajipale.
However, BJP''s Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra, Pravin Darekar, dismissed the development, saying that the state government should concentrate on the burning issue of state transport (ST) strike, and guilty officials should be dealt with as per the law.
Well-known criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam said that with this, the police can initiate the formalities for serving the 30-day notice and then attach the movable and immovable assets of the accused.
Incidentally, Singh has also been summoned on multiple occasions, slapped with fines and bailable arrest warrants by a government panel probing his allegations of corruption levelled against former state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who is currently in judicial custody.
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