Anil Deshmukh issues statement `to set record straight'

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Mumbai, Mar 23 (PTI) Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday said he was 'extremely disturbed' by the campaign of slander against him and wanted to set the record straight about his hospitalization last month.

Deshmukh is under fire after former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh alleged that the minister had summoned police officer Sachin Waze around mid-February and asked him to help with `collection' of money from hotels and bars in Mumbai.

The minister, who has denied the allegations, met chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday evening.

'I am extremely disturbed by the slander in various forms of media aimed at maligning my and my department's image,' Deshmukh said in a video message.

'I was hospitalized after contracting the COVID-19 and got admitted to a hospital on February 5. I was there till February 15. I was discharged and flew back to Mumbai and remained in home quarantine,' he said.

'I conducted some video conferences with officials and party meetings. I started my preparations for the Budget session. Many officials were visiting my official residence for briefing required before the budget session,' he said.

Considering how people were being 'misled', he found it important 'to set the record straight about my health and its chronology,' said the home minister. PTI ND KRK KRK