Param Bir moves SC; Pawar rules out Deshmukh's resignation

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(Eds: combined related stories) Mumbai/New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) IPS officer Param Bir Singh on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking direction for immediate 'unbiased, uninfluenced, impartial and fair' CBI probe into alleged corrupt malpractices of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

The move by the former Mumbai police commissioner came on a day NCP chief Sharad Pawar ruled out his party colleague's resignation from the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in the western state.

Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 2 pm on Monday amid uproar over corruption allegations in Maharashtra during the Question Hour.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) took an accused arrested in the Mansukh Hiran death case to the creek in Thane where his body was found, and also detained a person from Gujarat who had provided them SIM cards, officials said.

According to the ATS, Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze, now suspended and in custody of the NIA, played a key role and emerged as the prime accused in Hiran's murder case.

In his plea to the apex court, Singh, a 1988 batch IPS officer also sought quashing of the order transferring him from the post of Mumbai CP alleging it to be arbitrary and illegal.

As an interim relief, Singh sought stay of the operation of his transfer order and direction to the state government, the Centre and the CBI to immediately take in its custody the CCTV footage from the residence of Deshmukh.

Singh's corruption allegations against Deshmukh pertain to a period when he was hospitalised and hence the question of his resignation does not arise, Pawar said.

'We got information that Deshmukh was hospitalised at that time in Nagpur. The allegation (by Singh) pertains to exactly the same period when he was in hospital. There is a hospital certificate,' Pawar told reporters in Delhi, his second media briefing in as many days over the issue.

In his eight-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Singh on Saturday claimed Deshmukh wanted police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly from bars and hotels.

Singh had also alleged in the letter that Deshmukh had called Mumbai police API Sachin Waze around mid-February at the ministers official residence and told him to collect Rs 100 crore a month.

'Deshmukh was admitted to a Nagpur hospital between February 5 and February 15 after testing positive for COVID-19 and was being analysed from February 15 to 27,' Pawar said and read out a certificate from the hospital in this regard.

'All (state) government records also say that for the entire three weeks, he (Deshmukh) was not in Bombay (Mumbai).

He was in Nagpur, which is his home town. Thats why in such a situation, the question (of seeking resignation) does not arise, Pawar said.

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis claimed that Deshmukh held a 'press conference' on February 15 which contradicted Pawar's assertion that he was hospitalized then.

Deshmukh it was only a brief interaction with the media when he was stepping out of hospital.

Singh has alleged that Deshmukh had called police officer Sachin Waze around mid-February at his official residence and asked him to help with collecting funds from bars and restaurants.

Waze is currently in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the recovery of the vehicle containing gelatin sticks and a threat letter which was found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence Antilia in Mumbai last month.

'Shri Sharad Pawar ji said, from 15th to 27th February HM Anil Deshmukh was in home quarantine. But actually along with security guards & media he was seen taking press conference!,' Fadnavis tweeted.

In a video posted on Twitter, Deshmukh said he was admitted to Nagpur's Alexis Hospital from February 5 to 15 as he had contracted COVID-19 and was discharged on February 15.

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