Farmers of Maharashtra's Vidarbha region have urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to sack Vilasrao Deshmukh as heavy industries minister after the Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled him up for interfering in the enforcement of a law to regulate private money lending in the state.
“We have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and requested him to sack Deshmukh and take possible legal action against him,” said Kishor Tiwari, president of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), an NGO that protects the rights of farmers and farm widows of the region.
“Local legislators are getting political protection with the help of top leaders and are exploiting the debt-trapped farmers who are committing suicide,” Tiwari added.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reprimanded the former Maharashtra chief minister.
Speaking for the bench, Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly dismissed the Maharashtra government's appeal challenging the Bombay High Court order indicting Deshmukh and imposing a fine of Rs 25,000.
Dismissing the appeal, the apex court enhanced the fine to Rs 10 lakh. Deshmukh invited the reprimand of the apex court for interfering with the police action on a complaint by farmers alleging family members of Congress MLA Dilip Kumar Sananda were involved in money lending.