In a big development on Monday, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray urged Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to accept the resignation of Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. In the letter addressed to Koshyari, the Shiv Sena chief also requested him to allocate the Home portfolio to NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil. Patil, who currently holds the portfolios of Labour and Excise in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is a 6-time MLA from the Ambegaon constituency.
During the 15-year tenure of the NCP-Congress government in the state, he was in charge of Ministries such as Energy, Higher and Technical Education and Finance besides serving as the Speaker of the state Assembly from 2009 to 2014. Moreover, Thackeray asked the Governor to hand over the additional charge of Labour and Excise to Hasan Mushrif and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar respectively. This development comes even as sources hinted that both Deshmukh and the state government are likely to move the Supreme Court against the Bombay HC order which posed trouble for the former.
CM Uddhav Thackeray forwards Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh's (file pic 1) resignation to Governor, also informs that Dilip Walse Patil (file pic 2) will have charge of Home department now: Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office (CMO) pic.twitter.com/4qykxQsJAyApril 5, 2021
The controversy came to the fore on February 20 when Param Bir Singh levelled serious 'extortion' charges against Anil Deshmukh. In a letter addressed to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Singh refuted Deshmukh's remarks that his transfer was due to serious lapses in the Antilia bomb scare case. Moreover, he alleged that the NCP leader had asked Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze to extort Rs.100 crore per month from 1750 bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai. However, the Maharashtra Home Minister rejected these claims and announced that he will file a defamation suit against Singh.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government constituted a one-man high-level inquiry committee comprising retired Bombay High Court judge Kailash Uttamchand Chandiwal to probe these charges and submit his report in 6 months' time. However, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis dubbed this exercise as an "eyewash" citing that the panel had not been constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act,1952. The biggest blow for Deshmukh, however, came in the form of the order pronounced by a two-judge bench of the Bombay HC comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni earlier in the day.
The verdict came after multiple petitioners including Singh, Dr Jaishri Patil and Ghanshyam Upadhyay moved the HC seeking a CBI investigation in the matter. While the HC observed that the ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner should have filed an FIR, it took umbrage at the fact that the police had not registered an FIR based on Patil's complaint. Noting that there cannot be an unbiased probe if the same is handed over to the state police as Deshmukh is the Home Minister, the bench ordered the CBI Director to conduct a preliminary inquiry into Patil's complaint and conclude it preferably within 15 days' time.