Rift in Maharashtra alliance after ex-top cop’s letter against minister

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Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. File photo

A rift was created in the state’s ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi alliance over the action on Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh after a corruption allegation against him.

An alliance leader said that Deshmukh has to go as the corruption allegation against him is “serious”. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is also of this view, he said.

Jayant Patil, Maharashtra minister and state unit chief of Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party — to which Deshmukh belongs — however differed. “The letter (Param Bir Singh’s letter to the Chief Minister) is a reaction after Maharashtra Chief Minister and Home Minister decided to take a tough stand. There is no question of replacing Maharashtra Home Minister,” he told NDTV.

A meeting is likely to be held in Delhi this evening between the Shiv Sena leaders and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, the leader said.

The ruling alliance has landed in controversy after Param Bir Singh — replaced as Mumbai Police Commissioner over “unforgivable” lapses in the Mukesh Ambani security scare probe — accused Deshmukh of corruption and interference in police work.

Demand for removal of Deshmukh

Deshmukh has denied the charges and said he will sue Singh for defamation.

The state’s opposition BJP has called for his removal. “We demand the Home Minister’s resignation. If he doesn’t, then Chief Minister must remove him,” Thackeray’s predecessor, the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, has said. Calling for an impartial probe, he added, “The letter also states that the Chief Minister was intimated about this earlier so why didn’t he act on it?”

In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh had said the home minister had asked several officers including Sachin Waze who has been arrested in the Mukesh Ambani case – to run an extortion racket.

They were set them a target of ₹ 100 crore every month and asked to collect the money from restaurants, pubs, bars and hookah parlours. The demand, he said, was made in February.

Alleging that he has been made a “scapegoat”, Singh wrote that the Home Minister, on several occasions, had instructed police officers on how to handle cases and file charges, bypassing him and other senior officers.

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