Maharashtra Home Minister, Accused Of Corruption, Meets Uddhav Thackeray

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Maharashtra Home Minister, Accused Of Corruption, Meets Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai:

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who is accused of corruption and whose resignation has been demanded by the opposition BJP, on Tuesday night.
The meeting, which lasted for nearly an hour, took place at Mr Thackeray's official residence.

Earlier today Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched a blistering attack on Mr Deshmukh, accusing him of extorting money for police transfers to positions of power.

"The Home Minister of Maharashtra is extorting money for transfers and postings. Was the minister taking money for himself, his party, or his government is yet to be known," Mr Prasad said.

The controversy involving Mr Deshmukh was first highlighted by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, who accused him of running an extortion racket with the help of several other police officers, including Sachin Waze, the officer arrested in the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case; they were allegedly given a target of Rs 100 crore per month.

Mr Deshmukh has, so far, been staunchly defended by his party - the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is part of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi that is in power in the state.

On Sunday NCP leader Jayant Patil met party boss Sharad Pawar, and later told reporters "there is no question of the Home Minister resigning". A day later Mr Pawar also lashed out; he said the allegations designed to divert attention from the Mukesh Ambani security scare case.

Mr Pawar said Mr Deshmukh was recovering from a COVID-19 infection during the period he was allegedly indulging in "extortion activities". He also said Mr Deshmukh was in hospital from February 5 to 15 and in home isolation in Nagpur from February 15 to 27.

However, Mr Pawar's defence was questioned after an airline ticket, which apparently established that Mr Deshmukh had taken a private jet from Nagpur to Mumbai on February 15, soon started circulating online.

Mr Deshmukh later put out a video statement defending himself.

The BJP - the opposition party in Maharashtra - has jumped on this matter and is demanding the resignation of Mr Deshmukh and even Chief Minister Thackeray.

The BJP's Amit Malviya tweeted: "Sharad Pawar claims Anil Deshmukh was in hospital from 5-15 Feb and in quarantine from 16-27 Feb. But Anil Deshmukh was holding a press conference on 15 Feb...How lies fall flat!"

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