Questioning the timing of the allegations of corruption against Home Minister Anil Deshmukh by former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh, NCP president Sharad Pawar on Monday said that he will continue as the home minister of Maharashtra.
“If you see the former Commissioner’s letter, he mentions that in mid-February he was informed by certain officers that they got such & such instructions from Home Minister (HM)…From 6th-16th February, Mr Anil Deshmukh was admitted in the hospital because of Corona,” Sharad Pawar told reporters when asked about Bhartiya Janta Party’s demand for Anil Deshmukh’s resignation.
“It is clear that during the period about which the allegations were made, Anil Deshmukh was hospitalised. As this is clear, such demands hold no power,” he added.
Further, stating that the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has arrested 2 people in the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case, the NCP chief asserted that the ATS probe is moving in the right direction.
“Further probe will bring the truth out,” he told reporters adding that attempts are being made to divert attention from the main incident of bomb scare outside Ambani’s residence & the killing of Mansukh Hiran being investigated by the Maharashtra ATS. Sharad Pawar further told reporters that a decision cannot be made very easily as the allegations levelled by Param Bir against Deshmukh are “serious & require an in-depth probe”.
Meanwhile, the Bhartiya Janta Party hit back at Sharad Pawar saying that Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was holding a press conference on 15th February as against the claims made by the NCP chief that the home minister was in hospital from February 5-15 and in quarantine from 16th to 27th February.
However, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government maintained that it was a “conspiracy” to defame the Maharashtra government. Senior NCP leader and state minister Nawab Malik had also earlier in the day questioned the “timing” of Param Bir Singh’s letter.
Nawab Malik, who is national spokesperson of the NCP, also said the party has decided that Anil Deshmukh need not resign at this juncture. “A call on Anil Deshmukh’s fate will be taken once probe is completed”.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena today said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government enjoys “good majority” & it will not fall because of “one official” even as it admitted that ex-Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s allegations of corruption against state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh have maligned the image of the latter’s department.
On Sunday, Sharad Pawar had said that Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray will decide the fate of Deshmukh. Senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar & state unit president Jayant Patil also met Pawar at his residence in Delhi the same day when it was decided that Deshmukh will not step down.
A major political storm erupted in Maharashtra after Singh, who was recently shunted out as Mumbai police commissioner, wrote a letter to Chief Minister Thackeray last week claiming Deshmukh had asked Sachin Waze, currently in the NIA custody, and other police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly, including Rs 50 to Rs 60 crore from bars and hotels in Mumbai.
Deshmukh had denied these allegations.
The NIA is probing Waze’s alleged role in placing an explosives-laden SUV outside Ambani’s residence on February 25. The federal agency was handed over the Hiran murder case on Saturday. Hiran was the purported owner of that SUV, a Scorpio.