MUMBAI: Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has resigned from his post, hours after the Bombay High Court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the corruption allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh, a top Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said here on Monday.
“Soon after the high court directives, Deshmukh met NCP President Sharad Pawar and offered to resign to ensure an impartial probe. After the nod, Deshmukh has gone to meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to submit his resignation,” NCP National Spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik told mediapersons.
In a terse resignation letter addressed to the CM, Deshmukh said: “In the wake of the HC ruling, I feel it would be improper for me to continue in the post on ethical grounds. Hence I have decided to voluntarily keep away from the post. Kindly relieve me from this responsibility.”
The fast-paced development came shortly after a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G. S. Kulkarni directed the CBI to conduct a ‘preliminary probe’ within 15 days into Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh.
However, the court said that the CBI need not register a First Information Report (FIR) immediately as the Maharashtra government has already set up a ‘high-level committee’ to probe the matter.
“The Government Resolution by the state government for a high-level committee leads us to believe that there is no interference required,” said Chief Justice Datta.
Following the high court ruling, a high-level NCP emergency meeting was convened by Pawar in which Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other senior leaders were present to discuss the ramifications even as the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party clamoured for Deshmukh’s scalp.
Several BJP bigwigs including State party chief Chandrakant Patil, Leaders of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis (Council) and Pravin Darekar, Sudhir Mungantiwar and others welcomed Deshmukh’s move to keep off the post to ensure an impartial probe.
This is the second major setback for the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the past three months with a minister compelled to quit the cabinet.
On Feb. 28, Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod had quit amid a cloud over the death of a Tik-Tok star Pooja Chavan (22) in Pune on Feb. 7 after the BJP threatened to withdraw its members from a joint panel of the Shakti Bill and disrupt the legislature proceedings during the Budget Session in March.