The two Houses of the Parliament witnessed protests on Monday as the Bharatiya Janata Party raised the matter involving corruption allegations against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, PTI reported. The saffron party’s leaders in Parliament demanded an impartial inquiry into the matter and the resignation of the ministers in the Maharashtra coalition government.
On March 20, former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery accused Deshmukh of 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. Singh also accused the home minister of frequently interfering with police investigation in various cases.
On Monday, BJP MP Manoj Kotak said in the Lok Sabha that the developments in Maharashtra were serious. “The home minister should resign, the Maharashtra government should resign and there should be a CBI inquiry into the whole issue,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Kotak’s party colleague, Rakesh Singh, said that the situation in Maharashtra had national implications. He also demanded that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government resign amid the controversy. “The allegation against the state home minister was made by none other than the former police commissioner,” he was quoted as saying by PTI. “What was the compulsion of the chief minister to defend an [assistant police commissioner] API-rank official [Sachin Vaze], who was in suspension for 16 years, in a press conference?”
The Lok Sabha MP added: “What is the fear? Is there any fear of spilling the beans about those who get cut. If Rs 100 crore [is] collected from Mumbai alone, what would be the figure for entire Maharashtra.”
Meanwhile, Union Minister Anurag Thakur demanded appropriate action by the Maharashtra government. “The MPs not only from Maharashtra but from all over India are concerned about the serious allegation of corruption [against Anil Deshmukh] in Maharashtra,” Thakur said during Question Hour in Lok Sabha. “The state government should take appropriate action on the issue. Rs 100 crore collection per month is a big allegation and it is a matter of concern.”
Another BJP MP, Kapil Patil, alleged that Deshmukh was being shielded because of the fear that he may reveal the names of other people involved in the matter, NDTV reported. Meanwhile, Union minister Anurag Thakur also spoke against the “vasooli” or extortion taking place in Maharashtra.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to malign the Thackeray-led state government. He alleged that the former Mumbai police chief, who accused Deshmukh of corruption was himself “the most corrupt police officer”, PTI reported.
Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said: “It is not only in Maharashtra but across the country that the central agencies are being used to destabilise the opposition ruled government.”
In the Rajya Sabha, the members of treasury benches protested against the developments in Maharashtra, PTI reported. The House was adjourned till 2 pm.