After former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh was transferred on a very humiliating note, he levelled serious allegations against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. The fortune of the minister remains steady as opposition parties have called for his resignation but his government in alliance has stood firmly with him. These are just allegations but so far nothing is proven against the home minister.
Former CM of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis demanded Deshmukh’s resignation and called for an impartial probe to be conducted. On the other hand, all the supporting political parties and celebrities came in support of BJP and Devendra. MNS chief Raj Thackeray also demanded the resignation of Deshmukh in his scratching attack over said allegations.
Anil Deshmukh a five-time MLA has the uncanny knack of finding a berth in the state cabinet, irrespective of the party that comes to power in Maharashtra. The sole exception was in 2014 when the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP won the elections and assumed office, while Deshmukh was defeated in his pocket borough Katol by his nephew.
Anil Vasantrao Deshmukh has been a Member of 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, representing Katol (Vidhan Sabha constituency). He also served as the Minister of Food & Civil supplies and Consumer Affairs and Minister of Public Works Department in the Government of Maharashtra.
He also served as Minister of State for School Education, Information and Public Relations and Sports & Youth Affairs and Minister of State for Education and Culture in the Government of Maharashtra. Deshmukh served as chairman of Nagpur Zilla Parishad during the initial years of his political career.
He first got elected to Maharashtra state assembly in 1995 from Katol as an independent candidate. He represented that constituency until 2014. He served as Minister of state in the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government in 1995. His portfolios in that government included Education and Culture. He later joined the Nationalist Congress Party, a party formed in 1999.
When the NCP / Congress alliance came to power in Maharashtra in 1999, he initially served as Minister of State for School Education, Information and Public Relations, Sports & Youth Welfare. Later he was promoted as a Cabinet Minister in the state government. As a cabinet minister from 2001 to 2014, he was responsible for different government departments.
Deshmukh, the man from Katol is no stranger to controversies. In April 2020, he was targeted by a retired IAS officer and Chairman of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), Anand Kulkarni, who threatened to expose the minister.
In the current case, Deshmukh has denied the allegations saying the former Commissioner of Police is trying to `save himself’. The former Commissioner of Police, Param Bir Singh, has made false allegations in order to save himself as the involvement of Sachin Vaze in the Mukesh Ambani and Mansukh Hiren’s case is becoming clear from the investigation carried out so far and the threads are leading to Singh, the Home Minister has claimed.
Deshmukh shot to the limelight in October 2004 as minister of the Public Works Department (public undertakings) in the Vilasrao Deshmukh government. It was a period when the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation was building the ambitious Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Deshmukh was the prominent face during media interactions on the pioneering project but was dropped during the cabinet reshuffle in December 2008 in chief minister Ashok Chavan-led government before the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was inaugurated.
Vimal Mundhada replaced Deshmukh as Minister of Public Works Department, reportedly because he could not speed up projects. In October 2009, however, he made a re-entry into the cabinet as Minister of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs. So far he has no corruption cases to his credit. He was never a controversial person as in the recent past.
Even Param Bir Singh has many controversies to his credit. A desperate and impulsive police officer not only lost his own credibility but damaged the reputation of Mumbai police to a great extent. Param Bir Singh’s petition came almost simultaneously with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s press conference in New Delhi during which the veteran leader came out in support of Anil Deshmukh. Pawar said there was no question of removing Anil Deshmukh from the Home Minister’s chair. Probably this must have shaken Singh, because he is aware of his future in the Sachin Waze case.
Let’s assume Deshmukh is corrupt, but that does not give a clean chit to Vaze and Singh for their involvement in the Mansukh Hiren case. Vaze was arrested by the NIA, which is probing the recovery of an explosives-laden vehicle from outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani last month and also the alleged murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, the purported owner of that SUV. When all this happened, Vaze was an investigative officer and Param Bir Singh was Mumbai CP. If at all Deshmukh is wrong but that is not enough to bail out Singh and Vaze for their sins.