The Maharashtra government and former state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to cancel the Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the corruption allegations levelled against him, Live Law reported.
Deshmukh resigned from the state Cabinet on Monday after the Bombay High Court’s direction to the central agency to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
A special leave petition filed by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government challenged the Bombay High Court order. A separate petition was also filed by Deshmukh in the case.
In his resignation letter, the Nationalist Congress Party leader said it was not morally correct for him to continue as the home minister after the High Court order to finish preliminary inquiry against him in 15 days.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray accepted his resignation on Monday evening and informed Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari that senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Dilip Walse Patil, who was handling the Excise and Labour Departments, had been given the charge of the home portfolio.
Patil said he has accepted the responsibility of the key ministerial post at a difficult and challenging time, PTI reported. “I will ensure a clean police administration and there will be no political interference from my side,” he added.
The accusations against Deshmukh
On March 20, Singh had accused Deshmukh of extorting money from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours in Mumbai. In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, 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 had also accused the home minister of frequently interfering with police investigations in various cases.
Vaze was sent to the custody of the National Investigation Agency on March 15 for his alleged role in placing an explosives-laden vehicle outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani last month. Two days later, Singh – who was handling the investigation – was transferred from his position to the low-key Home Guard department by the state government.
The allegations against Deshmukh have landed the Shiv Sena, the Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party government in a huge controversy. BJP leaders claimed there was a possibility that such incidents of alleged extortion were taking place in other Maharashtra cities like Pune, Nagpur and Jalgaon.
Deshmukh had refuted Singh’s allegations, and claimed that the police officer was trying to cover up after mishandling the Ambani case.