As Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh faces the heat over allegations of corruption, a BJP leader has challenged him and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to undergo ‘narco tests’ to prove that the state government is speaking the truth.
“Even Sita mata went through ‘agni pariksha’, so why can’t they?” news agency ANI quoted BJP leader Ram Kadam as saying.
A political storm has been brewing in Maharashtra, following former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s allegations that Deshmukh asked arrested cop Sachin Vaze to collect ₹100 crore a month from various establishments of the city through extortion. The ex-top cop moved the Supreme Court today, seeking directions for immediate “unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair” CBI probe into alleged corrupt malpractices of Deshmukh.
In his petition to the court, Singh claimed that Deshmukh held meetings at his residence with police officers, including Vaze of Crime Intelligence Unit, Mumbai, and Sanjay Patil, ACP Social Service Branch, Mumbai, bypassing their seniors.
The issue formed the focal point today at the Lok Sabha, where the BJP demanded the resignation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by Uddhav Thackeray. Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha amidst protests by the Shiv Sena and the NCP, BJP member Manoj Kotak pointed out that according to Singh’s letter to the chief minister, the state’s home minister had asked Vaze, now suspended, to collect ₹100 crore from bars and restaurants in the metropolis every month. Rakesh Singh, another BJP leader, said that the issue is so serious that it can’t be termed a state subject as it has a national implication.
The Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Congress are part of the MVA government in Maharashtra. The coalition partners did their part in defending Deshmukh, with the Sena claiming that the BJP has been hatching a conspiracy to defame the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP dispensation for the last 14 months so that it can form a government in the state. Congress, too, claimed that central agencies were being used against opposition ruled states for one or the other pretext.
(With inputs from agencies)