Explained: Why Opposition wants Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh removed?
Trouble has been brewing for the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government in Maharashtra amid growing calls for the removal of state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. While Deshmukh's Nationalist Congress Party—a constituent of the MVA along with the Shiv Sena and Congress—has ruled out the possibility of his resignation, the Opposition is pushing for President's rule in Maharashtra. Here's all that's happening in Maharashtra.
Trouble began with bomb scare near Ambani's home
The recent turmoil in Maharashtra can be traced back to February 25, when the police had found an abandoned Mahindra Scorpio parked near billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani's 27-story Mumbai home, Antilia, with 20 gelatin sticks. An attached letter also threatened the Ambanis. The vehicle had been reported missing by one Mansukh Hiren the week before. Hiren was found dead on March 5.
Mumbai cop was arrested in Ambani bomb case
While the police had initially suspected that Hiren died by suicide, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis leveled grave allegations against Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze. Vaze—formerly a member of the Shiv Sena, which leads the MVA—was initially probing the case and later became a suspect himself. He was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the Ambani bomb threat case.
Cop's involvement embarrassed government; police chief transferred
Vaze's role in the case proved to be a major embarrassment for the Maharashtra government. Days after his arrest, the Maharashtra Home Ministry transferred Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh to a low-key post in the Home Guard. Thereafter, Singh leveled explosive allegations against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Ex-police chief accused of Home Minister of corruption
In the letter, Singh said he had been scapegoated and accused Deshmukh of running an extortion racket with several officers, including Vaze. They were allegedly assigned a monthly target of Rs. 100 crore and asked to collect money from restaurants, pubs, bars, and hookah parlors. Singh said Deshmukh had instructed cops on how to handle cases and file charges on several cases, bypassing him.
NCP ruled out Home Minister's resignation
Deshmukh's NCP held a meeting to review the allegations and on Monday, party chief Sharad Pawar ruled out the matter of his resignation. Pawar also said that Deshmukh was hospitalized at the time he is accused of meeting Vaze to discuss the extortion racket. Pawar further said there was no pressure from the Shiv Sena—headed by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray—regarding Deshmukh's resignation.
MVA partners to hold meeting in Delhi
The MVA alliance partners are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon in New Delhi to discuss the situation. Deshmukh has denied Singh's allegations and has threatened to file a defamation case against him. Singh has approached the Supreme Court seeking an "impartial" Central Bureau of Investigation probe into his allegations. Opposition leaders in Maharashtra have demanded the imposition of President's rule in Maharashtra.
MVA enjoys good majority, will not fall: Shiv Sena
Responding to calls for President's rule in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena said on Monday that the MVA enjoys a "good majority" and will not fall because of "one official." The party admitted that Singh's allegations have maligned the image of the state Home Department.