Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh levelled charges of corruption against the Nationalist Congress Party leader, reported NDTV.
In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh had claimed that Deshmukh was extorting money from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours in the city. The former police chief wrote that suspended Crime Branch officer Sachin Vaze told him that the minister had asked him to collect Rs 100 crore every month through illegal channels. Deshmukh has refuted the allegations.
“We demand the home minister’s resignation,” Fadnavis, the former chief minister of Maharashtra, told reporters. “If he doesn’t, then the chief minister [Uddhav Thackeray] must remove him. An impartial probe must be conducted. The letter also says the chief minister was informed about this earlier, so why didn’t he act on it?”
Besides Fadnavis, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, who is the cousin of Uddhav Thackeray, has also demanded Deshmukh’s resignation.
“Mumbai’s former Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s letter to the Chief Minister is explosive,” he tweeted. “This is so damaging for Maharashtra’s image. The Home Minister Anil Deshmukh needs to submit his resignation immediately and a thorough investigation too needs to be made.”
BJP Lok Sabha MP Poonam Mahajan spoke about the corruption charges against the state home minister. Mahajan’s party colleague Sunil Deodhar accused the Maharashtra government of “feeding on its people”.
“Now, can Maharashtra CM declare percentages of Vasuli Sena, National Collection Party & Sonia Congress?” Deodhar tweeted, in a reference to the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, who are alliance partners in the ruling Maha Vikas Agadi. “Else CM Uddhav Thackeray should take resignation of Anil Deshmukh. Otherwise he will be known as ‘Shameless CM’!”
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupram said that his party must take a stand on the matter. “If at all, whatever Parambir Singh is saying is truth, question should be asked from Hon Sharad Pawar ji because he is the architect of current Maharashtra Govt,” he tweeted. “Is it what the so called third front is going to do finally? Congress must take a stand on this issue.”
However, the Congress has defended Deshmukh, claiming that the BJP has conspired against the state government by putting officials under pressure from agencies.
“HM [Home Minister Deshmukh] had told a month ago that some officials were under pressure,” tweeted Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Sachin Sawant. “BJP has conspired against the MVA govt by putting officials under pressure from agencies. This is evident from the fact that the BJP leaders get secret info so early and planned manner.”
Sawant asked why the Centre did not show the same readiness in the Mohan Delkar case that it is showing now. Mohan Delkar, an independent MP from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, was found dead at a hotel in Mumbai’s Marine Drive area in February.
“Delkar wrote letters to Modi Shah. But nobody paid attention to it,” the spokesperson added. “Did they resign? Clear from letter that BJP is involved in Delkar case and a scam has been hatched to suppress it.”
Will file defamation case, says Anil Deshmukh
The home minister said that he will file a defamation case against the former Mumbai police chief, reported NDTV. “All the allegations made by Parambir Singh are false, he should prove them,” he said. “I’m filing a defamation case against him.”
Earlier on Saturday, he had denied the allegations, adding that Singh was making false claims to protect himself from further legal action in the Mukesh Ambani and Mansukh Hiran cases.
Sachin Vaze was suspended and sent into the custody of the National Investigation Agency for his alleged role in placing the explosives-laden vehicle at Carmichael Road, near the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai, on March 15. Two days later, Singh, who was handling the investigation, was transferred from his position to the low-key Home Guard by the state government.
On March 18, Deshmukh had claimed that Singh’s transfer was not done on administrative grounds, but due to some “serious and unforgivable mistakes” made by his colleagues.