To Raut’s ‘accidental home minister’ remark on Deshmukh, Nawab Malik’s defence
Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Sunday defended his colleague Anil Deshmukh, who is facing allegations of corruption by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh, after the Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut called him ‘an accidental home minister’. “Anil Deshmukh is not an accidental home minister. If shortcomings have been brought forward in an editorial (Saamana), then they should be taken in a positive manner. I think the home minister will work towards overcoming those shortcomings,” Malik said according to news agency ANI.
The remarks by Malik, a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party—one of the three constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the western state—came after Raut said Deshmukh ‘got the home minister's post by accident’. "Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil refused to take responsibility. That is why Sharad Pawar selected Anil Deshmukh for the post," Raut wrote in his weekly column.
Raut also wrote in his weekly column Rokhthok in his party’s mouthpiece Saamana that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra did not have damage control machinery as was seen after former Mumbai Police chief Singh claimed that Deshmukh asked police officers to collect money and he had set a target of ₹100 crore for Sachin Vaze, now the main accused in the Antilia bomb scare as well as businessman Mansukh Hiran’s death case. "If a junior officer like Sachin Waze was running a (money) collection racket from the Mumbai police commissioner's office, why was the home minister not aware of it?" Raut said in his column according to news agency PTI. "Waze was a mere API in Mumbai police. Who gave him so much powers? Whose favourite was he? All this should come out," Raut wrote.
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Malik also handled Raut’s comments about the police department. “There should have been strictness in handling the department (police) as some officers were acting as per their own will,” Malik was quoted as sayin by ANI.
Meanwhile, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has decided to conduct a probe into the allegations levelled by Singh against home minister Deshmukh and the state government has begun the process to form a judicial commission to be headed by a retired judge, senior leaders of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government familiar with the developments said.
Deshmukh also on Sunday said as much. "The chief minister and the state government have decided that a retired judge of the high court will conduct a probe into the allegations against me. Whatever is the truth will come out," he told reporters at the Nagpur airport.
Singh in a letter to CM Thackeray on March 20 claimed that Deshmukh wanted police officers to collect ₹100 crore monthly from bars and hotels, a charge denied by the home minister. The state government, under fire over handling of the bomb scare outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house in Mumbai, on March 17 transferred Singh from the post of city police commissioner to the low-key home guard department.