Dilip Walse Patil to replace Deshmukh as Maharashtra Home Minister
Dilip Walse Patil will be taking over as the new Home Minister of Maharashtra, state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray informed Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday. Earlier in the day, Anil Deshmukh had resigned as Maharashtra Home Minister shortly after the Bombay High Court ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the corruption allegations against him. Here are more details.
Patil was serving as Maharashtra's Minister for Labour and Excise
Forwarding Deshmukh's resignation to Koshyari, Thackeray informed the Governor that Patil will be Maharashtra's new Home Minister. Patil, who belongs to Deshmukh's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), is currently Maharashtra's Minister for Labour and Excise. Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, who already holds charge of the Finance Ministry, will now also hold the Excise portfolio. The Labour portfolio will be given to Hasan Mushrif.
Who is Dilip Walse Patil?
Patil is the son of former Congress MLA Dattatray Walse Patil, who was also a friend to NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The 64-year-old had started his career as Pawar's personal assistant. In 1990, he won the Ambegaon Assembly constituency on a Congress ticket and has held the seat since. In 1999, when Pawar formed the NCP after being expelled from Congress, Patil followed him.
Patil has formerly served as Maharashtra Assembly Speaker
Patil later became a minister in Vilasrao Deshmukh's Cabinet, taking charge of Power and Medical Education. He has also held the Finance and Planning portfolio through the course of his career. Between 2009 and 2014, he also served as the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly.
Not morally correct to continue as Home Minister: Deshmukh
Shortly after the Bombay HC order, Deshmukh met Pawar and other NCP leaders and expressed his desire to resign as Maharashtra Home Minister, party spokesperson Nawab Malik confirmed earlier in the day. "In his resignation letter to the Maharashtra CM, Deshmukh says he does not find it morally correct to continue as the Home Minister after Bombay High Court's order," Malik said.
Bombay HC orders CBI to conduct probe in 15 days
Earlier in the day, the Bombay HC asked the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe into the corruption allegations against Deshmukh. The court gave the probing agency a 15-day deadline to conclude the inquiry. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh, who first raised the allegations against Deshmukh.
What are the allegations against Deshmukh?
Deshmukh has been accused of running an extortion racket wherein he asked police officers, including suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Waze, to collect Rs. 100 crore each month from bars and restaurants. A plea filed against him in the court by Singh also alleged corruption in police transfers, postings and political interference in probes.
Mumbai top cop raised allegations after his transfer
Before moving the HC, Singh had first raised the allegations in a letter to CM Thackeray. The letter was sent mere days after Singh was transferred as Mumbai Police chief to a low-key post in the Home Guard. Singh was transferred as the state government and the police faced criticism over the Mukesh Ambani bomb threat case. Singh claimed he was being "scapegoated."
Dehsmukh denies allegations
Meanwhile, Deshmukh has denied all allegations against him. At his request, the state government had also ordered a separate probe into the corruption allegations. The probe was to be conducted by a retired HC judge.