Pawar rules out Maha home minister's exit over Singh's claims

·2-min read

(Eds: adds details) Mumbai, Mar 22 (PTI) The corruption allegations made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh pertain to a period when the latter was hospitalised and hence the question of his resignation does not arise, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Monday.

We got information that Deshmukh was hospitalised at that time in Nagpur. The allegation (of Singh) pertains to exactly the same period when he was in hospitalThere is a hospital certificate,' Pawar told reporters in Delhi.

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 had rubbished the charges the same day.

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 February 27, Pawar said during the media briefing.

The NCP chief also 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.

The former Union minister also said that there is no substance in the BJPs demand that Deshmukh should step down till the time allegations against him are probed.

Referring to Singhs letter, Pawar also wondered why the IPS officer took a month to level the allegation if he had the information that Deshmukh had called Waze around mid- February and asked him to collect funds.

The NCP president said the main case pertains to an explosives-laden vehicle being taken near industrialist Mukesh Ambanis residence.

Pawar said the ATS has arrested two persons in connection with the death of businessmen Mansukh Hiran, whose vehicle was used to carry the explosives.

'The main case was that and I think the Bombay ATS is going in the right direction,' he said. PTI ENM VT VT VT