Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Anil Deshmukh on Monday, 5 April, resigned from the post of Maharashtra Home Minister, hours after the Bombay High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the corruption allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
In his letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deshmukh said, “The Bombay High Court on 5 April, 2021, on the basis of the plea by advocate Jayshree Patil, ordered for a preliminary investigation by the CBI against me. In the backdrop of the order, it doesn't morally suit me to continue as the home minister. Hence, I have decided to step down from the post. I request you to relieve me from the same.”
Singh has accused Deshmukh of corruption and meddling in the police force’s functioning and transfers.
The court ordered for the investigation to be completed within 15 days, following which the CBI is to decide on the further course of action.
The court on 31 March had heard three more petitions other than Singh’s regarding the matter – a writ petition by Advocate Jaishri Patil and criminal PILs by advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay and Chartered Accountant Mohan Bhide.
However, the CBI need not register an FIR immediately or take up Patil’s complaint before it conducts an independent enquiry, the court added.
Charges Against Deshmukh
Singh had accused Deshmukh of corruption, extortion, meddling in the transfers within the force and directing investigations to be conducted according to his will, among other allegations.
Singh also challenged his transfer to the Home Guard Department by the Maharashtra government, in the backdrop of the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case and his alleged proximity with former API Sachin Vaze, who was arrested in the case.
Here are some key allegations made by Singh:
- Singh has alleged that he was transferred to the Home Guard Department after he brought the alleged corrupt practices of Deshmukh in the knowledge of senior state leaders, including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
- Singh claimed that Deshmukh held meetings with junior police officers, including Vaze, and instructed them to accumulate Rs 100 crore every month.
- Singh claimed that he was pressurised by Deshmukh to allegedly implicate certain BJP leaders in the suicide of MP Mohan Delkar in Mumbai and give it a political angle.
- In the petition, Singh alleged that Rashmi Shukla, former Commissioner Intelligence, in August 2020, had brought to the notice of the Director-General of Police the alleged corrupt malpractices in postings and transfers by Deshmukh based on telephonic interceptions.
- Singh accused Deshmukh of interfering in various investigations and instructing police officers to conduct probes in a particular manner as desired by him.