Sitaram Kunte: ‘Deshmukh handed over unofficial list suggesting cops for transfers’
FORMER ADDITIONAL Chief Secretary (Interior) Sitaram Kunte told the Law Enforcement (ED) Directorate that former state interior minister Anil Deshmukh who is the subject of money laundering investigation, ‘sometimes’ used to ‘hand over an unofficial list with suggestions for certain officers/transfer and posting positions’ of officers, who were ‘usually’ included in the final transfer and assignment order.
Kunte, in his statement to ED on December 7 last year, said “being a subordinate, he used to receive the said list from Anil Deshmukh and as a subordinate he could not refuse to accept “. Kunte also told the central agency that sometimes Deshmukh’s personal secretary, Sanjeev Palande, used to “give him those lists, which he used to have collected through his officer. subordinate”.
Explaining the process followed by the state for transfer and assignments, Kunte told ED that the unofficial list sent by Deshmukh was always shown to all members of the Police Establishment Board (PEB) and that he used to orally inform the members that the list was sent by Deshmukh.
The ED, which is investigating Deshmukh for his alleged interference in the transfer and assignments of police officers in Maharashtra during his tenure as home minister, included Kunte’s statement in its court complaint against Deshmukh.
The agency alleged that Deshmukh, along with a “Cabinet minister from a political party”, used to prepare the unofficial list of transfers and assignments. He did not name the cabinet minister in his complaint for prosecution.
According to ED, the work of the PEB was “a mere formality, where the members, despite their reservations and protests, had to accept and sign the recommendations of the meeting which were then sent to the competent authority – i.e. the Home Secretary and the Honorable Chief Minister”.
The agency is investigating one such list allegedly prepared by Deshmukh which contains the names of 12 police officers who were stationed across Maharashtra. The DE has
recorded the statements of these officers, but these statements are not part of his current complaint against the prosecution.
Deshmukh is under scanner for allegedly collecting Rs 100 crore in bribes from bar and restaurant owners in Mumbai as alleged by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. He was arrested by the ED on November 2 for money laundering. His secretary Palande, too, is currently behind bars in this case.
Param Bir Singh in his statement to ED said that in July 2020 he issued the transfer orders for 10 DCP rank officers to Mumbai following due process but without consulting any political parties. However, two days later, he had to cancel the order after receiving a WhatsApp message from Kunte, stating that the chief minister had ordered a standstill on the order.