Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar gives a clean chit to Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh claiming the allegations against Deshmukh, made in former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh's letter, are "vague".
Addressing a press conference in Delhi on Monday, Pawar said, “From February 5 to-15, Deshmukh was admitted to hospital because of Corona and the hospital has issued a certificate…From February 16 to 27, he was in home quarantine and if you see the former Mumbai Police Commissioner’s letter, he mentions that in mid-February he was informed by certain officers that they got such and such instruction from the Maharashtra Home Minister.”
On BJP’s demand for the dismissal of the Maharashtra Home Minister Pawar said: “During the period about which the allegations were levelled against Deshmukh, he was hospitalised. So, the demands for his dismissal hold no substance.”
Pawar alleged that the former Mumbai top cop’s allegation holds no proof and so there is no need for Deshmukh to resign. He also said that this allegation has been levelled to derail the probe into the incident of the SUV laden with explosives found near the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.
Earlier the issue was raised by the BJP in both houses of Parliament. In the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar raised the Anil Deshmukh bribery issue on Monday while members of the Treasury Benches resorted to sloganeering seeking the dismissal of the Maharashtra government.
During the Question Hour, when the turn of Javadekar came to reply to a question regarding his ministry, he said: “I could not hear the question but in Maharashtra, ministers are taking 100 crore bribes and the police are planting bombs which was earlier done by terrorists.”
The Treasury Benches demanded the dismissal of the state government.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition on Sunday rejected the demand of the opposition to dismiss state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The NCP said that there was no question of Deshmukh’s resignation in the wake of the sensational allegations levelled against him by Singh. On Sunday, the party had a marathon meeting at Pawar’s 6, Janpath residence in New Delhi.
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had sparked a political row on Saturday when he alleged that Deshmukh had asked suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who is in NIA custody, to collect Rs 100 crore from Mumbai’s restaurants, bars and hookah bars.
Two days after former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh’s ‘letter-bomb’, the Nationalist Congress Party alleged the IPS officer of not being truthful and issued a video statement raising serious doubts on the sequence of events mentioned in the letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
NCP National Spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said there were “too many” loopholes and until a full-fledged probe was carried out into all allegations raised, “there’s no question of Deshmukh’s resignation”.
Malik said that he (Singh) wrote the letter after he had been removed from the post of Mumbai CP.
“Moreover, on the relevant dates mentioned in the letter, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was on a tour of Vidarbha from February 1-5, later he was in quarantine for coronavirus and under treatment till his Covid-19 report came negative by February 27,” Malik said.
He claimed that as soon as Singh got the inkling of his transfer on March 17, he created the WhatsApp chats on March 16 with a sense of urgency in his messages.
“There are many such questions. However, the allegations he has raised are serious so there will be a full-fledged probe into them. Until the outcome of the probe, there’s no question of Deshmukh’s resignation,” Malik asserted.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi’s other allies Shiv Sena and Congress also reiterated that Singh’s letter was “a conspiracy to destabilize the government” and ostensibly written under “pressure” from central agencies.
While Revenue Minister (Congress) Balasaheb Thorat said that the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) keeps targeting the government and different ministers, Sena’s Chief Spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut said that the issue has “served to malign the image of the MVA”.
Late on Sunday, after a meeting between NCP President Sharad Pawar, state NCP chief Jayant Patil, state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and others, it was decided that there was no question of Deshmukh’s quitting in the matter.
On the oppositions’ part, BJP Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Maha Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, and others continue to bay for Deshmukh’s scalp but Congress Spokesperson Sachin Sawant has warned the MVA “not to succumb” to the BJP’s pressures.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi President Prakash Ambedkar and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said they would meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari demanding the dismissal of the MVA government on this issue.
The former Mumbai Police chief set off a major row on Saturday when he alleged that Deshmukh had asked suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who has been arrested in the SUV case and is in NIA custody, to collect Rs 100 crore from Mumbai’s restaurants, bars and hookah bars. (IANS)