After former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had made sensational allegations about how Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had instructed Sachin Waze to collect Rs. 100 crore per month from hotel owners and restaurants, multiple hotel owners now appear to be corroborating the charges.
“Waze had been running his shop at the CIU office inside the compound of the Commissioner of Police office in Crawford Market,” a hotel owner told Mid Day. “He would call entrepreneurs from the Food and Beverage business and convince them to cough up monthly amounts. In return, he would assure us that SSB officials would not conduct any raids at our establishments. He also assured that we’d stay out of other legal troubles,” the hotel owner added.
“We got Waze’s horror service in the name of protection from the SSB raids,” said the owner of a well-known restaurant in Bandra. “This happened soon after businesses resumed after the lockdown. It is hard to believe that Waze would be involved in such acts without keeping high-ranking officials in the loop,” he added.
Another bar owner detailed how Waze made the collections by listing bars into three categories: A, B and C. “The A category was supposed to shell out Rs 2 lakh a month, B had to pay Rs 1.5 lakh while C had to pay Rs 1 lakh,” said the bar owner.
“A few hotel and bar owners in Ghatkopar, Borivli and Worli had been collecting funds from nearby hotel owners and sending the money to Waze at the CIU office,” said a senior member of the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association.
Those who refused to pay reportedly had to face a crackdown by the SSB that deals with ladies bars and hotels. “SSB carried out raids at hotels and bars and filed cases. The last SSB raid was in early February. After that, no raid was conducted as everybody agreed to pay the money to be able to operate,” a source told Mid Day.
On Saturday, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had levelled sensational allegations at Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. He’d said that Deshmukh had directed him to collect Rs. 100 crore per month from Mumbai’s bars restaurants, bars and other establishments. He’d allegedly said that Mumbai had 1750 such establishments, and by collecting 2-3 lakh per month from each of them would enable them to extort Rs. 40-50 crore every month.