Sachin Vaze-Anil Deshmukh row: MVA to form panel to probe allegations
Even though an official announcement was not made on Wednesday, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has decided to form a judicial commission to look into the allegations levelled against state home minister Anil Deshmukh by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The commission will be headed by a retired judge, whose name is yet to be decided, said a senior MVA minister. The official announcement of the judicial commission is likely to be made on Thursday.
The decision was taken in a meeting of senior ministers held at Varsha, official residence of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, late on Wednesday evening. On March 24, HT had reported that the state is likely to declare a judicial commission into the allegations.
Senior ministers Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, Anil Deshmukh, Dilip Walse Patil, Balasaheb Thorat, Nawab Malik, Jitendra Awhad and Dadaji Bhuse were present for the meeting which lasted for over two hours. Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni was also called for the meeting to discuss various aspects of the probe, the minister said.
In an eight-page letter, Singh on March 20 accused Deshmukh of giving Sachin Vaze, a controversial police officer arrested in the Antilia bomb scare case, a target to collect ₹100-crore a month from bars, restaurants and hookah parlours and also several other allegations. Singh brought up the charges through a letter three days after being transferred from his post to Commandant General of Home Guards, Maharashtra, on March 17. He also challenged his transfer in the Supreme Court who has asked him to approach the Bombay high court on Wednesday.
The commission is likely to be formed under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, in which the commission will have powers to summon anyone for deposition, seek documents and conduct hearings.
Deshmukh is also facing allegations of corruption levelled by leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis who sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged corruption in IPS postings. On Tuesday, he said then director general of police (DGP) Subodh Jaiswal had submitted a comprehensive report on the alleged racket to the state on August 25, 2020. Fadnavis said the commissioner of intelligence Rashmi Shukla had intercepted some suspicious calls after they received information about a racket of brokers in the IPS transfers.
The issue was discussed at length in the state cabinet meeting held in the three-hour long meeting during the day on Wednesday. The home minister reportedly clarified no corruption had taken place in the transfer of senior police officials and the allegations leveled by former Mumbai police commissioner too were wrong.
Deshmukh reportedly told his cabinet colleagues that 90% of the transfers mentioned in the report submitted by Shukla did not take place. “The people referred to in the report as middlemen have no involvement in the transfers,” he reportedly told the cabinet.
He said Shukla’s act led to breach of trust between officers and also defamed the top IPS officers who have been named in the report. He said that the officers should sue her for defamation.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray reportedly expressed concerns over the entire episode and resolved to take a stern stand against the officials acting against the interest of the government. “We failed to recognize some officials in the bureaucracy. This is very dangerous and needs to be tackled with iron hands,” Thackeray is said to have told his cabinet colleagues during the cabinet meeting.