Param Bir Singh's letter: NCP leaders, Sanjay Raut meet Pawar

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(EDS: Updating) Mumbai, Mar 21 (PTI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, state unit NCP chief Jayant Patil, and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut separately met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Sunday evening in view of former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh's allegations of corruption against state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

The meetings took place hours after Pawar told reporters that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will decide the fate of Deshmukh, an NCP leader, amid speculation in state political circles that Maharashtra may soon have a new home minister.

Singh has claimed Deshmukh wanted police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly from bars and hotels in Mumbai.

Deshmukh had denied these allegations as baseless.

However, what transpired during the meetings at Pawar's residence in Delhi could not be known.

Earlier in the day, Raut told reporters in Mumbai that allegations of Singh against Deshmukh and the Sachin Waze episode have dented the image of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.

Waze 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.

Raut said all allies- the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress- need to introspect if their 'feet are on the ground'.

'Anil Deshmukh's side also needs to be heard before taking any decision on him. We will take a decision on Deshmukh by tomorrow,' Pawar told reporters.

Jayant Patil, who is also the state Water Resources Minister, had said that the Delhi visit was planned three days ago.

'The Pandharpur Assembly bypoll is scheduled next month. Ajit Pawar and I decided to meet party workers in Solapur district to know their views over the selection of candidate and the party strategy, and then meet Pawar saheb in Delhi with the feedback before returning to Mumbai,' he said.

'Accordingly, both of us are in Pandharpur to discuss issues related to the bypoll with party workers,' he said.

The Pandharpur bypoll is scheduled to be held on April 17. It was necessitated due to the death of NCP MLA Bharat Bhalke last year.

Meanwhile, Congress sources said Central leaders of the party are in touch with leaders in Maharashtra on the developments regarding Deshmukh.

A Congress leader told PTI on Sunday night that the CM was in touch with all prominent leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in view of Singh's letter.

'I don't thinkAnil Deshmukh will be asked to resign, as it will amount to accepting the allegations made against him,' he said. PTI MR NP NSK NSK