Anil Deshmukh quits as home minister as HC asks CBI to probe ‘graft’ | Mumbai News - Times of India

Anil Deshmukh quits as home minister as HC asks CBI to probe ‘graft’ | Mumbai News – Times of India

Mumbai

MUMBAI: Anil Deshmukh resigned as Maharashtra home minister hours after the Bombay high court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations of “corrupt malpractices” made by former Mumbai police chief Param One Singh against him.

A CBI team from New Delhi is slated to arrive in the city on Tuesday to initiate the probe after discussing the court order with its legal team.
Singh had, in an 8-page letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on March 20, alleged Deshmukh had met subordinate police officers, including suspended API Sachin Waze, and asked for “collection” of Rs 100 crore from various establishments in Mumbai. Deshmukh has denied the allegations, and his party NCP had earlier said there was no need for him to quit though the BJP had demanded his resignation.
Another senior NCP leader and labour and excise minister Dilip walse patil is likely to take over the reins of the home department from Deshmukh. The excise department will be entrusted to Ajit Pawar, while the labour department will be given to rural development minister Hasan Mushriff.
Deshmukh is the second minister of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, in power for one year and four months, to quit in the wake of a controversy. His resignation, the first in the ‘Wazegate’ controversy, comes a little over a month after Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Rathod quit as forest minister following a scandal over the suicide of a 22-year-old woman in Pune.
Accompanied by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, Deshmukh first called on NCP president Sharad Pawar on Monday to brief him on the outcome of the public interest litigation filed by Singh before the HC. Pawar quickly approved Deshmukh’s plea to resign from the cabinet “on moral grounds”. Deshmukh is counted among the trusted aides of Sharad Pawar but had been at the receiving end for inept handling of the Waze episode.
In a brief letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deshmukh said that since the HC had directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe against him, he did not think it fit to continue in the cabinet on moral grounds. “While disposing of a petition filed by Jayashree Patil, the High Court has asked the CBI director to conduct a preliminary probe against me. Under such circumstances, on moral grounds, I feel I should quit. I am quitting on my own, please relieve from my post of home minister,” Deshmukh stated in the letter.
Deshmukh’s resignation was later accepted by governor B S Koshyari.
The NCP was apparently taken by surprise when the HC asked the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe in the matter. All along, the NCP had expected that since the Supreme Court has declined to step in and the state government had set up a one-man high-level committee of Justice Kailash Uttamchand Chandiwal to probe into the charges of corruption raised in Singh’s letter, the chapter would be a closed one.
In his letter to the CM, Singh had, apart from mentioning his own unceremonious exit from the Mumbai CP’s post, raised two key issues: the “target” allegedly given by Deshmukh to Waze, and the alleged pressure exerted by the home minister on Mumbai police to register an abetment to suicide case in the death of Dadra Nagar Haveli Lok Sabha MP Mohan Delkar. Singh had said that after Waze’s meeting with Deshmukh, the API had come to his office and narrated his interaction with the home minister.
Singh had also written that he had briefed NCP president Sharad Pawar, CM Thackeray and deputy CM Ajit Pawar about the matter in view of its seriousness.

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