The General Secretary of BJP Maharashtra and state MLA Atul Bhatkalkar on Monday said "It's a million-dollar joke that NCP is saying Deshmukh has resigned on moral grounds. The Maha Vasooli Aghadi Sarkar lost its moral ground today. They lost their home minister and many more such political developments are in line."
He was reacting minutes after Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh resigned following Bombay High Court's ruling that ordered a CBI probe into allegations levelled by Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh, based on a complaint filed by Jaishree Patil on the same. "The Vazegate case is a deep conspiracy and this goes till the sixth floor of the Mantralaya. And so, this is not going to stop today," alleged Bhatkalkar referring to the developments in the case.
In an unforeseen development on Monday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh tendered his resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deshmukh's party NCP informed. Deshmukh purportedly offered to resign by himself, at a meeting of NCP top brass chaired by party supremo Sharad Pawar. This comes right on the back of the Bombay HC ordering a CBI preliminary inquiry into former Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh's charges against Deshmukh, on which petitioner Jaishree Patil had filed a complaint.
Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had also said "Now since the HC has ordered probe we demand the immediate resignation of Maharashtra HM Anil Deshmukh till the inquiry is on. If he is not willing to resign, the Chief Minister should remove him." Pronouncing its order on Monday, the court noted that directions are required to order an unbiased probe to unearth the truth. The CBI will decide on the further course of action after the 15-day preliminary probe.
In his resignation letter, Anil Deshmukh writes, "The Bombay High Court in its order dated April 5, 2021, has directed the CBI to investigate the allegations against me. At this moment, I feel it is not morally correct to continue to serve as the Home Minister of Maharashtra, therefore I have decided to step down from the position," said Anil Deshmukh in his letter of resignation to CM Thackeray.
Anil Deshmukh has come under fire from the Opposition, which had been demanding his resignation ever since former Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh leveled extortion charges against the Home Minister. The latter's falling out had come after Param Bir Singh was transferred out of the Mumbai CP's post amid the Vazegate scandal, and Deshmukh had said at a media event that the transfer was not procedural and due to lapses. Following this, Param Bir wrote to the Maharashtra CM alleging Deshmukh had set a Rs 100 crore extortion target for Sachin Vaze.
Up till the high court order, the NCP had been defending its minister against the allegations. The Maharashtra government had even appointed a one-member panel, comprising a retired Bombay HC judge Kailash Chandiwal, to probe allegations against the NCP minister, and submit a report in six months. However, the court order compelled Deshmukh to step down as the HM.