INDIA. Mumbai: Anil Deshmukh tendered his resignation as the Maharashtra Home Minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, in view of the charges of corruption, on Monday.
The development came shortly after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to start a preliminary inquiry within 15 days into allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh against him.
Deshmukh in a letter dated April 05, 2021, addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the Bombay High Court has ordered the inquiry into allegations of corruption and misconduct and as such it will not be proper for him to continue as the home minister on moral grounds.
Deshmukh belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Shiv Sena and the Congress in Maharashtra. While speaking to reporters, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Deshmukh informed NCP chief Sharad Pawar that it won’t be appropriate to remain in the post as CBI will be probing the charges against him and as such he submitted his resignation letter to Thackeray.
Earlier in the day, the Bombay High Court directed CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into corruption allegations and file an FIR against Deshmukh if required. The court ordered the CBI inquiry in response to a petition filed by Singh, who had alleged that Deshmukh had asked a junior level police officer to collect Rs 100 crore per month from bars, hukka parlors, and other establishments in Mumbai.
Singh who was transferred out as Mumbai police commissioner and was posted as Director General, Home Guards on March 17, 2021, had written a letter to Thackeray on March 20, bringing to his notice the above developments. Subsequently, he filed the writ petition in the Supreme Court. However, SC directed him to first approach the Bombay High Court in the matter.
On Monday the Bombay High Court ordered the Director of CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry by law and conclude it within 15 days. Once the preliminary inquiry is complete, the CBI can proceed by law. However, since the allegations are already being probed by a high-level committee headed by a former judge of the Bombay High court, as per directions of the Maharashtra government, the CBI need not immediately register an FIR in the case, a bench comprising, Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni said.
Last month, Singh had moved the Bombay High Court seeking an “immediate and unbiased” probe against Deshmukh, who he claimed asked police officer Sachin Vaze (already arrested by NIA in Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case) to collect Rs.100 crore from bars and restaurants.
The former top cop had mentioned in his plea that Deshmukh used to frequently interfere with police investigations and even held meetings at his residence with police officers. In these meetings, Deshmukh instructed the officers to collect Rs.100 crore per month from various establishments.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said he is happy that Deshmukh has quit, adding there will be many “shocking revelations” in the CBI probe.