How Mumbai’s Hafta-Vasooli Threatens To Overturn Maharashtra’s Government

Mukesh Ambani's terror case to anil deshmukh's resignation

This week on Thursday, Supreme Court gave a big jolt to the Maharashtra coalition government led by Uddhav Thackeray and former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh after dismissing MVA’s (Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi) request to revoke the CBI probe into serious corruption charges against its minister. 

The corruption charges were made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, who has also been transferred from his position for not handling the Antilia bomb scare case appropriately. 

The allegations have forced Anil Deshmukh to quit his position as a home minister soon after the Bombay High court asked the top investigation agency to probe the case. 

The matter has now become one of India’s most controversial and high profile cases and probably, this is the first time in Indian states’ history when a state home minister resigned before the corruption charges proved him guilty. 

Here we will try to understand the case and how the whole drama is threatening to overturn Maharashtra’s politics. 

What is the case?

On 20th March, two days after his transfer as Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh wrote a letter to state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and accused that Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had forced API (Assistant Police Inspector) Sachin Waze to collect at least Rs 100 crores rupees for him from different business places of Mumbai as extortion.

 In general terms, it is known as ‘Hafta Vasooli’ in Mumbai and it has a deep and infamous history of the city, especially during the 90s when gangsters were controlling the city virtually through the extortion route.  

In his letter to CM Uddhav Thackeray, the top cop explained how Deshmukh instructs his subordinate Waze to collect Rs 100 crores per month. Taking the name of Deshmukh in his letter, Mr Singh alleges that the home minister told Waze that Rs 40 to Rs 50 crores rupees can be easily collected from more than 1,700 bars, restaurants, hotels and other establishments of the city. 

The letter further alleges that Deshmukh also guided Waze that the rest of the collection could be made from other sources. 

Soon after Singh’s allegation, Deshmukh categorically denied and rubbished the charges by saying that Singh is making false allegations to save himself as Mukesh Ambani security scare case.   

How it all started?

The case is linked to India’s richest man and industrialist Mukesh Ambani security scare, when an SUV was found near the residence, Antilia tower, of Reliance chairman on February 25. 

During the primary investigation, police found bomb materials and a threat letter that was issued to Ambanis, demanding money through Bitcoin. 

The high profile case was handed over to API Sachin Waze, who was reporting to Param Bir Singh. 

During the investigation, police found that SUV- which was parked near Ambani’s house- was linked to a 45-year-old Thane-based businessman- Mansukh Hiren.   

Hiren said it was his car that was stolen a week before and had filed a police complaint about it

On the 5th of March, the entire episode of the Mukesh Ambani case turned out like any Bollywood film script when Hiren dead body was found on the bank of a creek, near Mumbra.

His postmortem report revealed that there were injuries and swelling on his face, possibly he was beaten up by murders before his death. 

On 7th March, Hiren’s family filed a murder case and held responsible Waze for his death.

On 15th March, NIA booked Waze over the serious charges against him and took him into custody; subsequently, he was also suspended from his post by Mumbai police.

Who is Sachin Waze? 

The encounter specialist Waze is one of the most controversial police officers in the Mumbai police department, who had the first time suspended from his duty in 2004 for 16 years over his alleged role in the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus in the Ghatkopar blast in 2002. 

Waze, a 49-year-old and 1990 state cadre cop, was also gained appreciation by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray for his role in killing gangsters in Mumbai during the 90s.

 In 2008, during his suspension period, Waze joined the Shiv Sena but was not playing an active role in the party.  

He has recently joined the Mumbai police department and was appointed as an assistant inspector at the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU).

He was handling several high profile cases such as; fake TRP case, Hiritik-Kangna email case, and copyright violation matter.

It was the Waze’s team, who arrested Arnab Goswami over his alleged role in the death of Anvay Naik. 

It is said that Waze has always been very close to Param Bir Singh in his entire career. Recently, NCP chief Sharad Pawar alleged that it was Singh who forced the government to bring Waze back to the department. 

Is Aghadi in danger?

BJP is eyeing Maharashtra since Deshmukh resigned over corruption allegations made by a top cop. Taking this matter as an opportunity to establish its government in the state, BJP claimed that it’s a “fit case for President’s rule”.

 The political pundits believe that the Maharashtra government might see a massive political crisis shortly after the completion of the ongoing five state elections. 

 However, Shiv Sena and NCP have made it clear that there is no threat to the MVA, and the coalition government will finish its mandate. While the Congress is completely mum on the entire episode.

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