Mumbai: Amid the ongoing controversy over an explosive letter from former Mumbai Police Chief Param Bir Singh threatening to destabilize the ruling tripartite coalition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), pointed Sharad Pawar, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ), that the document may be part of a conspiracy against the government.
At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Pawar said Singh’s letter accusing the NCP leader and Maharashtra Interior Minister Anil Deshmukh of corruption , was received only after the visit of the BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis in Delhi. The NCP President asked why Singh had never made these allegations before, but only after he knew he was likely to be transferred. He is now the DG (Home Guards).
“There have been attempts to destabilize the government, but they will not succeed. One thing is clear, the allegations weren’t made earlier, why not? … The former CM had also gone to Delhi and only then did the allegations begin, « said Pawar, although he added that he had no evidence to back up his claims. </ In a letter to Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, former Commissioner Singh alleged that Deshmukh had instructed his officers, including the suspended deputy police inspector Sachin Waze, to collect 100 rupees a month in bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai .
Deshmukh has denied the allegations, saying he will pursue a defamation lawsuit. CM Uddhav Thackeray’s office has expressed doubts about the legality of the letter.
Earlier this week, Maharashtra’s government handed Singh over to the Home Guards, an inconspicuous station amid controversy over the recovery of a car laden with explosives the residence ‘Antilia’ of foreign industrialist Mukesh Ambani and the arrest of the National Investigation Agency of Waze in connection with it.
Read also: Unknown email id, unsigned – Why CMO the letter from the ex-chief of police of Mumbai to interior minister doubted
Pawar also noted that the letter was sent « unsigned, » which the GMO also underlined in a statement late Saturday.
« When he knew he was a Mumbai CP (Commissioner of Police), he made these allegations. He’s never talked about it before … He also didn’t mention who the 100 rupees went to, « Pawar said.
» I was told that when Waze was reinstated, the people who made those decisions … the CP was part of it. The responsibility to bring Waze back after 16 years (suspension) is his. After hiring him again, he was also given an important post. As far as I know, the CM or the Interior Minister play no role. The Interior Minister does not appoint sub-inspectors, « Pawar added.
He also said that certain questions 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 make sure his name is clear.
Singh’s letter, an unprecedented move for a top police officer, has made things quite difficult for the MVA government as it is in it it is mentioned that he had informed Thackeray and Pawar of his allegations against Deshmukh.
Pawar admitted that he had met with Singh, but did not state whether the conversation addressed the allegations against Deshmukh directly.
“He met me and told me that the talks about postponement (transfer) were injustice. He said that there is a lot of interference in his department, « said Pawar.
Pawar said that he had not had a discussion with MVA partners Shiv Sena or Congress about Singh’s letter, but on the way to the press conference CM Thackeray spoke.
He also said there should be an investigation into the allegations but this would be in line with the CM’s decision. He also said that the decision on whether or not Deshmukh will step down as minister rests with Thackeray as well.
« There should be an in-depth investigation led by such an officer or person in the police administration enjoys full respect. I’ll make my suggestion to the CM, ”Pawar said, adding that the name he has in mind is superior and revered than any other from a central agency.
Sources in the NCP said Pawar likely will hold a meeting on Sunday evening with Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and the party’s President Jayant Patil.
Read also: Why the MVA government chose Hemant Nagrale to replace Param Bir Singh, the Mumbai Police Chief
The controversy has given the BJP ammunition to target the MVA. Party officials are protesting across Maharashtra, demanding Deshmukh’s resignation.
The problem has also led to tension between the three allies in the ruling coalition.
While the CMO issued a statement, Thackeray himself remained silent on the issue. Meanwhile, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, a MP for Rajya Sabha, said it was time for introspection.
« The allegations are very serious and should not be brought against a minister. It is time for introspection. Whoever played a small role in the formation of the MVA is a shock to them, ”Raut said when speaking to reporters in Nashik. He added that every alliance partner needs introspection and everyone should check that their feet are firmly on the ground.
“Certain controls should be in place and certain officials should be kept in check. CM Uddhav Thackeray went to great lengths to preserve the dignity of this government. The government’s image was damaged within 72 hours, « added Raut.
The chairman of the Congress, Sanjay Nirupam, tweeted on Saturday: » If anything, whatever Parambir (sic) Singh is saying, the truth is Hon Sharad Pawar Ji should be asked a question as he is the architect of the current Maharashtra government. Is that what the so-called third front has to do? The Congress has to take a position on this issue. «
BJP chairman and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called on Sunday for a » fair and impartial investigation by an outside agency « and was amazed at how Waze, » a mere assistant inspector « , both inside and outside the gathering none other than the Prime Minister was defended.
“The Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra was founded with the intention of pillaging, not governing. The BJP will raise this issue very strongly and will take to the streets soon, « Prasad said at a press conference at the party office in Patna.
He added that former Commissioner Singh’s allegations only point to the » tip of the iceberg » could.
« What was alleged in the letter could only be the tip of the iceberg. Maharashtra is a prosperous state … When a police officer in Mumbai is asked to extort money from political leaders, we can suspect that there have been similar violations in other business centers such as Pune, Nagpur and Jalgaon, « he added.
Opposition leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis also held a press conference following Pawar’s interaction, claiming the NCP chief spoke the « incomplete truth ». “Pawar Sahab established this government and assumed its responsibility. He believes it is his responsibility to protect his product, « he said.
He urged the MVA government to persuade Deshmukh to resign, claiming that a fair investigation could not be carried out while this was going on he remains Minister of the Interior. Fadnavis also called on the government to clarify who exactly runs the home department and who is behind the appointments, including Waze’s.
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