Image source, Ashish Raje
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Since May, Parambir Singh was missing

Indian officials made an extraordinary announcement on October 1st: The former chief police officer of Mumbai (the country’s financial capital) was gone.

Parambir Singh is a well-known officer and has a reputation as a leader of the 45,000-strong force.

Now Mr Singh (59), was not available at the office. He had his home in Mumbai, and his family’s house in Chandigarh. They are 1,600km (994 mi) apart.

The police started a hunt for one of their officers. However, Singh’s family — his daughter and wife who live with him in Mumbai as well as his son from abroad – and his attorneys remained silent regarding the whereabouts of the officer.

  • Asia’s richest man. There was a bomb threat and an Indian murder.

The whole thing began with an elaborate heist involving a suspiciously complicated SUV filled with explosives that was discovered outside Mukesh Ambani’s house. Over the next days, the body allegedly belonging to the owner of that vehicle was discovered washed up on the coast near the city. The police eventually determined that the victim had been killed and the body was dumped into the water.

When a police officer, allegedly known to the deceased man, was arrested, things got even more murkier. According to investigators, Sachin Vaze (an assistant inspector in elite crime branch) was involved in plans to place the car with explosives outside the house of Mr Ambani and the assassination of the owner. The allegations have been denied by Mr Vaze.

On March 1, Mr Singh was fired and moved to lead Maharashtra’s (of which Mumbai is capital) home guards. The force, which provides support for the police but has a low-resource base, assists them. Indian media-speak for Mr Singh is that he was “shunted to” a less glamorous department.

This isn’t a routine transfer. As the chief of Mumbai Police, officers at the office of the police commissioner made grave mistakes. Anil Deshmukh said that the mistakes were grave and that he was being transferred. The exact nature of these mistakes was not made known.

Mid-March saw Mr Singh start his new job. It was a tiny office located only a few kilometres from his previous workplace. The building, an AngloGothic heritage building at the heart of the City, is where he worked before. Soon after, Singh sent a note to the government accusing his boss of corruption and extortion. Another time, there was no evidence.

According to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s letter, Mr Deshmukh accused Mr Waze of telling him to take millions in bribes, from city hoteliers and bar owners.

  • Mumbai police crack down on ‘encounters’

In spite of his denials, Mr. Deshmukh was eventually forced to quit in April. The federal financial investigation agency began investigating Mr. Deshmukh, summoning him for questioning five times. He was taken into custody by the ex-minister himself in November. In a reference to Mr Singh, Singh said that “the one who has accused me of this has fled abroad.”

In the meantime, Mr Singh was on medical leave in May and had his leave extended twice.

He vanished.

The wife and their daughter did not speak to Mr Singh at his residence, a tall building located in Malabar Hills. BBC reached out to Anukul Singh Seth his lawyer for comment. Media outlets have speculated breathlessly that the officer fled abroad. One reported that he was in Russia while another claimed he was in Belgium.

He is being sought out. As a government officer, he can’t go abroad without government clearance… If he goes away, then it’s not good,” the new interior minister, Dilip Walse Patil, told reporters.

A panel of retired judges has been appointed by the Maharashtra government to investigate this case. Four criminal charges of extortion against Mr Singh have been filed by hoteliers, realtors and bookies. His ex-boss Mr Deshmukh has yet to be charged and was remanded into custody up until November 12.

Further complicating the situation is the refusal of Mr Singh to appear for questioning at the summons by the panel. He instead filed a court petition challenging the investigation through his attorneys. According to his lawyers, the fact that Singh communicated with the panel suggested that Singh wasn’t fleeing from the law.

  • Raman Raghav: Mumbai was terrorized by Jack the Ripper, India

Evidently, there is not much information available about the case. What is the connection between the explosives-laden automobile and the investigation? Why did Mr Deshmukh have to expel Mr Singh? What made Mr Singh flee after making allegations against his minister and why didn’t he appear before the panel? Why does Mr Singh not appear in front of the investigating panel?

We don’t have any answers at this time.

He was a master’s student in sociology and was born to a mother who was a housemaker and a father who was a bureaucrat. His hobbies included playing cricket and staying fit. He fought Maoist rebels from rural areas and the city’s gangland chiefs over his long career of four decades. Mr Singh was part of a group of officers who worked in Mumbai to eradicate the criminal underworld during one of his previous postings. India’s richest capital was at that time being destroyed by kidnappings, gang wars and extortion.

The “encounter cops” were controversial, high-ranking crackers who helped to eliminate gangsters that often ransom businessmen as well as film stars and producers. S Hussain Zaidi was a journalist that has documented crime in the region. Mr Singh, along with another senior officer, were “assigned to wipe out the underworld of the city”. The two formed “three elite encounter squads.”

Next year, Mr Singh will be 60 years old and retire. He told a journalist he was still living in India that he had not fled the country when he spoke with him by phone in August.

Only his own force seems to not know the reason he hasn’t made it forward nor where he might be.

Source: BBC.com

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