Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh resigned today citing “moral grounds” hours after the Bombay High Court ordered the CBI to carry out a preliminary probe into former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s allegations against him.
“I don’t want to continue as Home Minister as an investigation is on,” said the resignation letter of Mr Deshmukh, who belongs to Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Mr Deshmukh had rejected calls for his resignation for weeks, saying he had done nothing wrong. His party had also ruled out his exit and after several meetings, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena had also fallen in line despite a strain within the alliance.
Param Bir Singh, who was recently replaced as Mumbai Police chief, has alleged in a petition that Mr Deshmukh targeted him because he had complained to Uddhav Thackeray listing several allegations against the minister, including extortion and illegal transfers. The High Court today asked the CBI to investigate the allegations within 15 days.
He first made the allegations in an explosive letter to the Chief Minister days after his transfer. The letter emerged just after Mr Deshmukh told reporters that Mr Singh was removed because of wrongdoings that were “unpardonable” and that he had botched up investigations into the case involving a car full of explosives found near Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai home in February.
In retaliation, Param Bir Singh went public with his letter to the Chief Minister detailing allegations against the state Home Minister.
Mr Deshmukh, the former top cop had said, had asked police officers, including Sachin Waze — arrested by the National Investigation Agency in the Ambani bomb scare – to collect Rs 100 crore each month from bars and restaurants.
The petition also accused Mr Deshmukh of corruption in police transfers and postings, based on allegations by an IPS officer, Rashmi Shukla.
Mr Deshmukh has denied the allegations, which have caused a rift within ruling coalition partners Shiv Sena and NCP.