Mumbai, April 5 | Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has resigned from his post, hours after the Bombay High Court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the corruption allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh, a top Nationalist Congress Party leader said here on Monday.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appointed senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, ex-Speaker and Labour Minister Dilip Walse-Patil as the new Home Minister.
The CM also tweaked his cabinet by handing over the Labour department to Minister Hasan Mushrif, and State Excise portfolio to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
Among the seniormost leaders in the state, Walse-Patil, 65, has been a 6-time MLA from Ambegaon in Pune district, has been a Minister with experience in handling diverse departments, and served as the Speaker of Maharashtra Legisltive Assembly from 2009-2014.
Earlier, the high court verdict triggered off a high-level political dramas in the state culminating in Deshmukh’s resignation.
“Soon after the high court directives, Deshmukh met NCP President Sharad Pawar and offered to resign to ensure an impartial probe. After the nod, Deshmukh has gone to meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to submit his resignation,” NCP National Spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik told mediapersons.
In his resignation letter to the CM, Deshmukh said: “In the wake of the HC ruling, I feel it would be improper for me to continue in the post on ethical grounds. Hence, I have decided to voluntarily keep away from the post. Kindly relieve me from this responsibility.”
The fast-paced development came shortly after a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G. S. Kulkarni directed the CBI to conduct a ‘preliminary probe’ within 15 days into Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh.
On March 30, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had appointed a high-level committee by a retired Bombay HC judge, Justice K. U. Chandiwal to probe the matter.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh rushed to New Delhi late this evening amid speculation that he would challenge the Bombay HC verdict in the Supreme Court.
Several BJP bigwigs including State party chief Chandrakant Patil, Leaders of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis (Council) and Pravin Darekar, Sudhir Mungantiwar and others welcomed Deshmukh’s move to resign from his post to ensure an impartial probe.
This is the second major setback for the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the past three months with a minister compelled to quit the cabinet.
On February 28, the Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod had quit amid a huge row following the death of a Tik-Tok star Pooja Chavan (22) in Pune on February 7.
After the incident, the BJP threatened to withdraw its members from a joint panel of the Shakti Bill and disrupt the legislature proceedings during the Budget Session in March if Rathod continued in in the ministry.