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‘Why now?’ Mumbai ex-top cop’s letter a conspiracy against MVA govt, says Sharad Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar questions timing of Mumbai ex-commissioner Param Bir Singh's letter, says removing Home Minister Anil Deshmukh up to CM Thackeray.

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Mumbai: Amid the ongoing controversy over an explosive letter by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh that threatens to destabilise the three-party ruling coalition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar hinted that the document could be part of a conspiracy against the government.

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Pawar said Singh’s letter accusing NCP leader and Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of corruption came only after BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis’s visit to Delhi. The NCP president questioned why Singh never made these allegations before, but only after he knew he was likely to be transferred. He is now the DG (Home Guards).

“There are attempts to destabilise the government, but they will not succeed. One thing is clear that the allegations were not made earlier, why not?… The former CM had also gone to Delhi and only after this the allegations started,” Pawar said, though he added he does not have any evidence to back his claims.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as well as Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, former commissioner Singh alleged that Deshmukh had instructed his officers, including suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze, to collect Rs 100 crore a month from bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.

Deshmukh has denied the allegations and said he would pursue a defamation lawsuit. CM Uddhav Thackeray’s office has cast doubts on the legitimacy of the letter.

Earlier in the week, the Maharashtra government had transferred Singh to the Home Guards, a low-profile posting, amid the controversy over the recovery of an explosives-laden car from outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence ‘Antilia’, and the National Investigation Agency’s arrest of Waze in connection with it.


Also read: Unknown email ID, unsigned — Why CMO doubts Mumbai ex-police chief’s letter on home minister


‘Timing of letter questionable’

Pawar also noted that the letter was sent “unsigned”, something the CMO also underlined in a statement late Saturday.

“When he knew that he was going to be removed as Mumbai CP (Commissioner of Police), he made these allegations. He never spoke about them earlier … He has also not mentioned who the Rs 100 crore went to,” Pawar said.

“I was told that in reinstating Waze, the people who took these decisions… the CP was a part of it. Some responsibility of bringing back Waze after 16 years (of suspension) lies with him. After reinstating him, he was also given an important posting. As far as I know, the CM or home minister have no role in it. The home minister does not appoint sub inspectors,” Pawar added.

He also said that certain questions had arisen from the investigation into the recovery of explosives outside Antilia, the Ambani residence, and the death of Mansukh Hiren, the owner of the car in which the explosives were found. Singh’s letter, Pawar alleged, could be a diversionary tactic to ensure his name is in the clear.

Singh’s letter, an unprecedented move for a top police officer, has made the situation for the MVA government rather tricky, as it mentions that he had informed Thackeray and Pawar about his allegations against Deshmukh.

Pawar acknowledged that he had met with Singh, but did not specify if the conversation directly addressed the allegations against Deshmukh.

“He met me and had told me that the talks of shifting (transfer) is injustice. He said that in his department there is a lot of interference,” Pawar said.


Also read: Param Bir Singh transferred due to serious mistakes by some of his colleagues—Anil Deshmukh


Decision on Deshmukh

Pawar said he has not yet had any discussion with MVA partners Shiv Sena or Congress regarding Singh’s letter, but spoke to CM Thackeray while on his way to the press conference.

He also said there should be an inquiry into the allegations, but this would be in accordance with the CM’s decision. He also said the decision on whether Deshmukh will step down as minister or not also rests with Thackeray.

“There should be an in-depth inquiry and it should be led by such an officer or such a person who enjoys full respect in the police administration. I am going to make my suggestion to the CM,” Pawar said, adding that the name he has in mind is superior and more revered than anyone from a central agency.

Sources in the NCP said Pawar is likely to hold a meeting with deputy CM Ajit Pawar and the party’s state president Jayant Patil Sunday evening.


Also read: Why MVA govt chose low-profile Hemant Nagrale to replace Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh


BJP targets MVA

The controversy has given the BJP ammunition to target the MVA, with party workers holding protests across Maharashtra and demanding Deshmukh’s resignation.

The issue has also caused some amount of tension among the three allies in the ruling coalition.

While the CMO issued a statement, Thackeray himself has been quiet on the issue. Meanwhile, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, said it was time for introspection.

“The allegations are very serious and should not be made against any minister. It is time for introspection. Whoever has played even a small role in the formation of the MVA, it is a shock for them,” Raut said while speaking to reporters in Nashik. He added that each alliance partner needs introspection and everyone should check if their feet are firmly on the ground.

“Certain controls should have been put in place and certain officers should be kept in check. CM Uddhav Thackeray has tried very hard to maintain the dignity of this government. The image of the government got damaged within 72 hours,” Raut added.

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam Saturday tweeted, “If at all, whatever Parambir (sic) Singh is saying is truth, question should be asked from Hon Sharad Pawar Ji because he is the architect of current Maharashtra govt. Is it what the so called third front is found to do? Congress must take a stand on this issue.”

BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Sunday called for a “fair and impartial probe by an outside agency” and expressed astonishment at how Waze, “a mere assistant inspector”, was being defended inside and outside the assembly by none other than chief minister.

“The Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra has been formed with an intention to loot and not to govern. The BJP is going to raise this issue very strongly and will soon hit the streets”, Prasad said at a press conference at the party office in Patna.

He added that former commissioner Singh’s allegations could be indicative of just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

“What has been alleged in the letter could be just the tip of the iceberg. Maharashtra is a prosperous state … If a policeman in Mumbai is asked to extort money for political bosses, we can surmise that there have been similar transgressions at other business hubs like Pune, Nagpur and Jalgaon,” he added.

Leader of the opposition and former CM Devendra Fadnavis also held a press conference following Pawar’s interaction, and claimed the NCP chief had spoken the “incomplete truth”. “Pawar sahab has manufactured this government and taken its responsibility. So he thinks it is his responsibility to safeguard his product,” he said.

He demanded that the MVA government make Deshmukh resign, contending that a fair inquiry could not be conducted while he remained home minister. Fadnavis also demanded that the government clarify who exactly is running the home department and who was behind the appointments, including Waze’s.

(With inputs from PTI)

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)


Also read: Mobile mystery in Ambani probe: SUV owner’s phone was 14 km apart in 15 mins day before death


 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Typical of this slimy politician avoiding and dodging the main issue. Even if the time of Parmbir Singh’s letter is motivated, does it reduce the gravity of extortion allegation against the Home Minister? The Home Minister of Maharashtra is facing serious allegation. As a seasoned politician, Shard pawar shuold have asked him to resign and return to power if cleared by the investigation and courts. Public has so little faith in both politicians and bureaucrats, would nevertheless believe a bureaucrat than trust a politician.

  2. “Why now” is less important than “is it true?”
    If it is true, we have a very huge problem in hand. If it is not true, even then we have a very huge problem in hand.
    In either of the cases “Why now” is really insignificant. In either of the cases (true or false) there will be guilty parties. THAT is what is important. Who is the guilty party – and not “Why now”?

  3. The time has come to send a rifle squad to take care of the entire mumbai top brass – the police and the politicians – every last one of them. What disgusting state of affairs – murderers and terrorists ruling the city and the state.

  4. Why now? Because Singh has been transferred now. Earlier all was hunky dory so there was no need to wash dirty linen in public. Pawar’s blue eyed boy Singh has now turned.

  5. Sanjay Raut had indicated the power wielded by underworld earlier when the same SECULAR PARTIES were in POWER.

    Mr POWER is well known for being close to the underworld and keeping a posse of journalists on his payrolls to ensure no news of his corruption is ever discussed in MEDIA.

    However the social media was abuzz of how D gang ruled Mumbai when he was in power and nothing seems to have changed.

    This truly shows the “BOND’ that keeps SECULAR JOURNALISTS and SECULAR POLITICIANS together is nothing but “CORRUPTION “.

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