'Have sought time from governor to discuss issues': Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar
Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said that chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and leaders of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government have sought appointment from Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to discuss the “current issues” in the state. The governor, however, is out of town they will make an appointment when he’s back, he added.
The leaders are expected to discuss issues, including extortion claims levelled against state home minister Anil Deshmukh by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh, and the corruption allegations by the opposition in police transfers.
The plan to meet the governor comes a day after a delegation of opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders led by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met the governor. They submitted a memorandum to Koshyari requesting him to send a report on the current situation in Maharashtra to President Ram Nath Kovind.
The deputy chief minister also said that Thackeray has sought a report on the illegal phone tapping issue, adding that chief secretary Sitaram Kunte is likely to send it in today itself.
“Phone tapping can be done only after getting permission from the additional chief secretary (ACS), home and Kunte was working as ACS, home when phones were tapped, hence he is also aware of the facts," Pawar said.
This comes after former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis accused the government of not taking action on a report by former DGP Subodh Jaiswal about corruption in transfers of police personnel.
The report on records of phone tapping by former Commissioner of State Intelligence and IPS officer Rashmi Shukla is based on intercepted phone calls of six people. It has names of senior politicians, middlemen, and police officers, who as the report claims were middlemen who helped police officials seek postings of their choice, and brought up names of politicians such as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, and home minister Anil Deshmukh, in their alleged conversations.
The NCP countered Fadnavis’ remarks alleging that Shukla illegally tapped the phones of police officials and politicians in Maharashtra.
The drama in the state gradually unfolded after Singh, who was recently removed from his post, wrote to Thackeray alleging Deshmukh contacted now suspended police officer Sachin Vaze to extort ₹100 crore a month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai. Vaze has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case.
Following the letter, Fadnavis said that this is not the first time corruption charges have been levelled against the state home minister and cited the phone tapping report.