Retired Bombay HC judge to probe corruption allegations against Anil Deshmukh
The Maharashtra government on Tuesday appointed a one-member judicial commission to probe allegations of corruption against home minister Anil Deshmukh levelled by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh, who was removed amid investigations into the explosives-laden car found near billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s house in February. The retired judge of Bombay High Court, Kailas Chandiwal, has been given six months to submit his report to the state government.
Chandiwal has been directed to probe whether Singh's letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on March 20, has any proof to establish whether Deshmukh or any official from his office committed any offence or misconduct.
The panel will also investigate whether the allegations levelled by the former city police chief, who was shunted to a low-key post on March 17, have any truth and if there is a need for an investigation into it by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) or any other investigating agency. It has also been asked to make any other recommendations that it deems fit to do.
The development comes a day before Singh's plea, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Deshmukh, as well as a stay on his transfer, will be taken up by Bombay High Court. Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed his petition seeking a CBI probe, directing him to first approach the high court.
Singh has accused Deshmukh of tasking police personnel, including suspended assistant police inspector (API) Sachin Vaze, with collecting ₹100 crore per month from bars, hotels and restaurants in Mumbai. The home minister and his party, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have repeatedly denied the allegations, with Deshmukh even threatening to file a defamation case against Singh, currently the commandant general of the Home Guards.
The NCP leader has also said that he will welcome any probe ordered against him by CM Thackeray. Last Sunday, he said that a retired HC judge will probe the matter.
Singh was transferred from his post as the Mumbai Police commissioner for mishandling the probe into an explosive-laden SUV which was found near Ambani's residence in Mumbai on February 25. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating the case and Vaze, who has emerged as the key accused, is in the NIA's custody till April 3. He was arrested on March 13.