Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Monday said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government enjoys “good majority” and it will not fall because of “one official” even as it admitted that ex-Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s allegations of corruption against state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh have maligned the image of the latter’s department.
The Sena also said this issue has now become a “matter of prestige” for the party-led government, a day after Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ruled out resignation of Deshmukh.
In the editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the party said a fire will erupt if the BJP tries to undermine the majority enjoyed by the MVA government.
The MVA comprises the Sena, NCP and Congress.
A major political storm erupted in Maharashtra after Singh wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week claiming that Deshmukh had asked police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly, including Rs 50-60 crore from bars and hotels in Mumbai.
Singh was recently shunted out as Mumbai police commissioner in the midst of a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the recovery of an explosives- laden SUV from outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani last month.
Deshmukh had said that Singh was transferred in view of “serious and unforgivable mistakes” committed by some colleagues of the top cop. The home minister had also denied the allegations of corruption raised against him.
The hue and cry being generated by the BJP over Singh’s letter seems to be part of a conspiracy, the Sena said, adding the letter came close on heels of Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi last week.
“It seems to be the goal of the BJP to impose President’s rule in Maharashtra by contending that law and order situation is not right. For this, new pawns are being created. It is clear, Singh is being used in that manner,” it said.
Singh, whose suspension the BJP was seeking over the bomb scare outside Ambani’s residence, has now become a “darling” of the opposition party which is now targeting the government by keeping the gun on his shoulder, the edit said.
The Sena, however, admitted that Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh have “definitely maligned” the image of the state home department and that they have given a tool to the Opposition to target the government.
“It (the overall issue) is now become a matter of the government’s prestige,” the Sena said.
“…..The MVA enjoys a good majority even today. Fire will erupt if (you) try to undermine that majority. This is not a warning, but a fact. The Opposition should not forget that governments are not formed and don’t fall because of one official,” it added.
The Sena further said that Singh making allegations against Deshmukh in the letter and “leaking” the same to the media was not in line with discipline.
Hailing Singh as a “dynamic” officer, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said Singh had discharged several responsibilities in a “very good” manner.
Mumbai Police carried out a proper probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput under Singh’s leadership, the Sena said and praised him for handling the Kangana Ranaut episode well.
“..It is true that the Opposition has made allegations against him (Singh) in connection with the ‘Antilia’ (Ambani’s residence) episode, but it is not right to level allegations against the government,” the Sena added.
The Sena alleged that the BJP was using Singh to defame the state government.
“Reacting to Singh’s letter, Deshmukh on Saturday said that Singh was raising such accusations to save his skin in police officer Sachin Waze (arrested by the NIA in connection with the bomb scare case).
“If this (Deshmukh’s comment) is true, then the BJP is using Singh to defame the Maharashtra government,” the Sena said.
The party alleged that it was the BJP’s policy to not only defame the government, but to cause trouble in its functioning.
“The Opposition party has been making the extreme use of Central probe agencies in Maharashtra. It seems the Centre may send CBI or NIA in the state even if four hens and two crows die due to electric shock somewhere,” the edit said.
NCP alleges conspiracy to defame Maharashtra govt
Alleging a “conspiracy” to defame the Maharashtra government, senior NCP leader and state minister Nawab Malik on Monday also questioned “timing” of former Mumbai police chief’s letter.
Malik, who is national spokesperson of the NCP, also said the party has decided that Deshmukh need not resign at this juncture. “A call on Deshmukh’s fate will be taken once probe is completed”.
On Sunday, NCP president Sharad Pawar said Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will decide the fate of Deshmukh. The allegations levelled by Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh are serious and require an in-depth probe, he had said.
A major political storm erupted in Maharashtra after Singh, who was recently shunted out as Mumbai police commissioner, wrote a letter to CM Thackeray last week claiming Deshmukh had asked Sachin Waze, currently in the NIA custody, and other police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly, including Rs 50 to Rs 60 crore from bars and hotels in Mumbai.
“Why Singh did not issue the letter before he was transferred to the Home Guard department. He (Singh) has claimed that (Sachin) Waze met Deshmukh in the last week of February. Deshmukh was in hospital till February 15. He was in home quarantine till February 27,” Malik told a news channel.
He said Deshmukh started meeting people from February 28 after testing negative for coronavirus on February 27. “So, this letter raises doubts,” Malik added.
“The NCP has decided that any decision on the fate of Deshmukh will be taken based on outcome of probe,” he said.
Malik alleged Singh had been to Delhi and that NCP leaders have information regarding whom he met in the national capital and what discussion took place.
“……All this will definitely come up in the discussion in the time to come. A conspiracy was hatched to defame the state government,” he alleged.
On Sunday, senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and state unit president Jayant Patil met Sharad Pawar at his residence in Delhi when it was decided that Deshmukh will not step down.
After that meeting, Patil said there was no need to divert attention from the main incident of bomb scare outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence and the killing of Mansukh Hiran, a Thane-based businessman.
The focus is on these two events and after that appropriate steps will be taken, he had said.
The NIA is probing Waze’s alleged role in placing an explosives-laden SUV outside Ambani’s residence on February 25. The federal agency was handed over the Hiran murder case on Saturday. Hiran was the purported owned of that SUV, a Scorpio.
Also read: Uddhav govt to probe home minister Deshmukh & also why Param Bir Singh didn’t act on ‘info’