Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh resigned on Monday, hours after the Bombay High Court directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled against him.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni said this was an “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” case that warranted an independent inquiry.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been demanding his removal after the former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh dropped a letter alleging that Anil Deshmukh wanted police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly from bars and hotels in Mumbai.
Param Bir Singh had earlier this month moved the HC demanding an “immediate and unbiased” probe against Deshmukh, who he claimed asked police officer Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants. The former cop claimed that Deshmukh had conducted a meeting at his residence with several Mumbai police officers including Waze in February this year.
However, the HC directed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s director to complete the preliminary inquiry within 15 days and then take a decision on the further course of action. The bench was presiding over three public interest litigations, including one filed by Singh himself, another by city-based lawyer Jayshree Patil, and the third by teacher Mohan Bhide, seeking various reliefs.
The bench has disposed of all three pleas.