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Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh resigns to challenge CBI probe

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Mumbai: In a set back to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s regime, his aide Anil Deshmukh stepped down from the post of the state’s home minister on Monday night, to approach Supreme Court in order to seek cancellation of the CBI probe against him in a corruption case.

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Notably, Deshmukh’s resignation came within hours, after the Bombay High Court ordered a preliminary CBI investigation against the leader regarding the allegations made by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh, citing moral grounds. It had given the Central probing agency 15 days for a preliminary report.

Ex-Mumbai commissioner Singh — who was replaced as the Mumbai police chief last month — approached the Bombay High Court after a Supreme Court order. In his petition he alleged that he was removed from his post because of his complaints against Mr Deshmukh to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The petition filed by Mr. Singh accused Mr Deshmukh of corruption in police transfers and postings, based on allegations by an IPS officer, Rashmi Shukla.

In his petition, he had also said that his claims were “hard facts coming from the person who occupied the highest post in the police force in the city and from someone who has served for more than 30 years.”

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However, Mr Deshmukh and his party, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, denied all the allegations made against him.

Mr Pawar had alleged that the police chief, who was heading an investigation in a case involving an explosives-laden vehicle near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s home, was trying to divert attention from it. Mr Pawar had also questioned the timing of his allegations, pointing out that he spoke up only after he was removed from the top post.

In a letter to Uddhav Thackeray, Param Bir Singh has accused Mr Deshmukh of “malpractices”. The minister, he wrote, had appointed several of his officers – including Sachin Vaze (who has been arrested in the Mukesh Ambani case), to run an extortion racket, giving them a target of ₹ 100 crore a month.

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