Amid fast-paced political developments in Maharashtra, a delegation of opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders led by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis arrived at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Wednesday morning.
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The delegation comprising state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and other leaders submitted a memorandum to the governor requesting him to send a report on current situation in Maharashtra to President Ram Nath Kovind.
After the meeting, Fadnavis said that the governor should ask the chief minister what action has been taken on the issue of extortion and transfer racket. “CM Uddhav Thackeray has maintained silence on the entire political crisis. We have requested Governor to make him speak and seek a report from him,” said the former chief minister.
The BJP has been attacking the three-party ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance over the allegations against state home minister Anil Deshmukh, demanding his resignation. The NCP leader has been accused of corruption by Param Bir Singh, an IPS officer who was transferred as Mumbai police commissioner during the investigation into security threat case against billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
Singh said in a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh gave Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, arrested in the Ambani bomb scare case, a target to extort ₹100 crore from various establishments of Mumbai. Singh has moved the Supreme Court against his transfer and to seek a CBI probe against Deshmukh. The court will today. The minister has, meanwhile, denied all the charges.
The NCP, part of MVA, has also backed the minister, ruling out his resignation. NCP chief Sharad Pawar – credited with stitching the three-party alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – acting as the chief crisis manager, held a press conference and multiple meetings with party leaders and discussed the issue. He told reporters on Monday that Deshmukh was recuperating from Covid-19 during the period Param Bir Singh has claimed that he was indulging in “extortion activities” through police officers.
But Fadnavis took a jibe at the senior politician from Maharashtra over the statement. “Deshmukh was in home quarantine from February 15-27 but met officers and was not in isolation. I feel Pawar Sahab was not briefed properly yesterday,” the BJP leader said.
Fadnavis claimed the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA) government in the stateon a state intelligence department report containing audio intercepts of “large scale corruption” in police transfers and postings, and said he would seek a probe by the CBI.
The BJP leader met the Union home secretary in Delhi on Tuesday and submitted all the evidence. “The Union home secretary told me that they will verify documents and evidence submitted and a report will be sent to the Central government, which will take appropriate action,” Fadnavis told reporters after the meeting.
However, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that there is nothing serious in the documents Fadnavis gave to the home secretary. “The government will not come under threat with it,” he added.
Meanwhile, amid the calls for his resignation, Deshmukh met Thackeray at the latter’s residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai on Tuesday. Maharashtra Cabinet is scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday in Mumbai and is likely to discuss the issue.