Deshmukh Row Reaches Parliament: Shiv Sena Walks Out of Lok Sabha

The HM was accused of tasking former API Sachin Vaze with collecting Rs 100 crore from business establishments

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Param Bir Singh (left) accused Maharashtra HM Anil Deshmukh (right) of directing suspended API Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore from restaurants and bars.
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Rajya Sabha proceedings on Monday, 22 March, had been adjourned till 2 pm after uproar over corruption allegations of Maharashtra’s Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh. The matter was also raised in the Lok Sabha.

BJP leaders, including Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, spoke in the Rajya Sabha while Chairman Venkaiah Naidu instructed that TV broadcast be stopped.

Javadekar addressed the media after the session adjourned and said, “ Never before had the world seen a bomb being planted by police. Is this normal? This is an extraordinary issue. The CM has no right to continue in his position. What does it show if his trustworthy personnel plants bomb, as alleged by ATS?”

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, on Saturday, 20 March, in an unsigned letter, had accused Deshmukh of corruption. In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Singh claimed that Deshmukh had directed suspended API Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore every month from bars, restaurants, and other establishments.

Deshmukh, on his part, refuted Singh’s allegation soon after, stating that he would file a defamation suit against him. He further said that Singh had made false allegations in a bid to protect himself from more legal action in connection with the case.

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LOK SABHA?

Singh’s allegations of corruption against Deshmukh was raised in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Shiv Sena walked out from the lower house of the Parliament amid the outrage.

BJP MP Rakesh Singh slammed CM Thackeray saying, “Perhaps it is the first incident in the country where the CM (Maharashtra) holds a press conference in support of the API who was given a target of Rs 100 crore. He said that he (Sachin Waze) was the among the best police personnel in the country. How does this happen,” he asked.

“On what basis was a man suspended for 16 years and even jailed reinstated? When there was BJP government, Uddhav Thackeray himself had called up Devendra Fadnavis for reinstating Vaze. Fadnavis had refused. When Thackeray government came, they reinstated him,” said independent MP Navneet Ravi Rana.

Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, said the accusations against the Maharashtra government are “serious”.

Proceedings in both houses of the Parliament began at 11 am. The day’s agenda included several important bills such as Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2021 in Rajya Sabha and Finance Bill 2021, The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, 2021 among others in the Lok Sabha.

SHIV SENA SLAMS ALLEGATIONS BY SINGH

Maharashtra’s ruling party the Shiv Sena on Monday launched a scathing attack on Singh and slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly using him to destabilise the state government.

In an editorial published by the party in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena said that since the probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Mukesh Ambani bomb-scare case and former API Sachin Vaze’s alleged involvement in it would have been traced back to Singh, he levelled the allegations to shield himself.

Vaze, who is believed to be Singh’s close aide, was allegedly associated with Mansukh Hiren, the owner of the SUV that was laden with explosives.

Sena further alleged that the letter from Singh came just two days after the Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.

The Sena alleged that the same BJP that showed utmost mistrust in Singh throughout his tenure is now celebrating him and his letter in a clear case of political blindsiding.

DESHMUKH’S FATE TO BE DECIDED

While the Devendra Fadnavis-led Opposition has launched a frontal attack on the Maharashtra government, demanding Deshmukh’s resignation, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders are reportedly set to meet NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Monday to decide his fate.

Thackeray, too, has convened a Law & Judiciary Department review meeting on Monday.

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