The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena on Thursday traded barbs after suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze alleged in a letter that former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Transport Minister Anil Parab demanded more than Rs 100 crore from him.
Vaze is facing proceedings in connection with the explosives found near the home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, and the subsequent death of businessman Mansukh Hiren.
On Thursday, Maharashtra BJP unit president Chandrakant Patil hit out at the Uddhav Thackeray government over Vaze’s allegations, saying that more resignations were on the way, reported India Today. Deshmukh had resigned on Monday after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh levelled corruption charges against him.
“I announce that in the next 15 days, two more ministers will resign,” claimed Patil. “Don’t ask me the names. Someone will go to court and then Parab will have to resign.”
Patil alleged that the matter was a case of organised crime. “Hence, I demand slapping MCOCA [Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act],” he said. “Maharashtra is the most frustrated over the politics happening since the past 18 months.”
Patil wondered what else needed to happen in the state before President’s rule was imposed, reported PTI. “If you want to blame the Centre for everything, why not give the state administration to the central government?” he asked.
The BJP leader also called Deshmukh a “hypocrite” as he had moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the allegations against him. “In the resignation letter, he [Deshmukh] says he is quitting to facilitate a free and fair probe, and the next day he moves the apex court against the probe,” Patil said.
He said the state government had defended Vaze so aggressively during the Budget session in Maharashtra that the Assembly had to be adjourned nine times. “Now you don’t trust him,” he added.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said the claims made by Vaze were serious and added that there was a need to deliberate on them. “The things that are coming out and happening are not good for the reputation of Maharashtra and the state police,” he said. “The CBI or any other competent authority should investigate the letter’s content and bring out the truth.”
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena hit back at the BJP over the allegations. Party leader Sanjay Raut said that a new tactic has come to light in which people write letters from jail and called it a political conspiracy, reported ANI.
He also defended Parab. “I know Anil Parab, he can never indulge in such work,” Raut said. “I can assure [you], no Shiv Sainik can take a false oath in Bala Saheb Thackeray’s name.”
Parab claimed that there was a plan to defame Maharashtra ministers since BJP leaders had been connecting him with the corruption case for the past two days. “How did they know Sachin Waze will give a letter?” the minister asked. “It’s clear that there’s a plan of defaming Maharashtra ministers.”
In the letter, Vaze alleged that Deshmukh, who was then the home minister, asked him to pay Rs 2 crore, suggesting that some people had objected to his reinstatement to Mumbai Police in June last year. Vaze said Deshmukh demanded the amount to convince Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who also wanted him suspended again.
Mentioning a separate incident, Vaze also named Parab, who he alleged made a similar demand in July-August last year. Vaze alleged that Parab asked him to “initiate primary talks” with Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust which was facing an inquiry, and seek Rs 50 crore from the body to close the investigation.
“I had expressed my inability to do any such thing as I do not know anybody from SBUT [Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust] and also I did not have any control over the inquiry,” Vaze stated in his letter.
Vaze further alleged that in January, Parab approached him over a list of fraudulent contractors with civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and sought “at least Rs 2 crore” from about 50 of them. Vaze claimed that he did not find anything incriminating against the contractors till his transfer following the Ambani case.