Maharashtra Home minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday resigned from the post after the Bombay High Court ordered a CBI probe into corruption charges levelled against him. The Bombay High earlier today ordered a CBI probe into the graft charges against him by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh. The court directed the central agency to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days.
"Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has resigned," NCP minister Nawab Malik said. He added that Deshmukh met NCP chief Sharad Pawar soon after the Bombay HC's order and offered to resign.
Deshmukh sent his resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who heads an alliance government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress. In his letter penned in Marathi, Deshmukh said he is stepping down on 'moral grounds' after the Bombay High Court's order.
Earlier today, the HC directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days into allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled by Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh. It said the CBI must complete the preliminary inquiry within 15 days and then take a decision on further course of action in the case.
"The CBI's director is allowed to conduct a preliminary inquiry. Such preliminary inquiry be ordered in accordance with the law and be concluded within 15 days. Once the preliminary inquiry is complete, director CBI (will) be at discretion to (decide on) further course of action," the High Court said.
Last month, former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh set off a major row when he alleged that Deshmukh had asked suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who has been arrested in the SUV case and is in NIA custody, to collect Rs 100 crore from Mumbai's restaurants, bars and hookah bars.
Singh, who was transferred to the low-key Home Guards on March 17 following the arrest of Vaze in the Antilia case, in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had claimed that he was made a scapegoat. In the eight-page letter, Singh had alleged that Deshmukh used to call police officers to his official residence and give them a "collection target" from bars, restaurants and other establishments.
Allegations of Singh against Deshmukh and the Sachin Vaze episode have dented the image of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state. Vaze was arrested by the NIA, which is probing the recovery of an explosives-laden vehicle from outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani last month and also the alleged murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, the purported owner of that SUV.