Maha expose makes home minister’s position untenable

Singh’s charges cannot be brushed off, though they can be attributed to the hurt ego of a senior IPS officer whose reputation Deshmukh sought to smear.

Published: 22nd March 2021 07:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2021 01:32 PM   |  A+A-

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh (Photo | ANI)

Outgoing Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh on Saturday opened state home minister Anil Deshmukh’s can of worms, exposing the shocking protection money racket the latter is running in the city. That he sought to employ police officers to do the dirty job, fixing targets for extortion from dance bars, restaurants and other establishments to raise a monthly sum of Rs 50 crore from them plus another Rs 50 crore through other means was nothing less than a jaw-dropper.  In other words, he was acting like a mafia don, a la Dawood Ibrahim, employing the very force meant to protect citizens against exploitation. Singh’s charges cannot be brushed off, though they can be attributed to the hurt ego of a senior IPS officer whose reputation Deshmukh sought to smear. The minister indeed qualified his transfer in the wake of the arrest of ‘encounter specialist’ Sachin Waze in the bomb scare attempt outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house Antilia, as the fallout of unpardonable lapses in the case probe and not due to administrative reasons. But Singh covered his base by reproducing the social media chat he exchanged with a colleague regarding Deshmukh’s extortion fiat to corroborate his charges, in his letter to CM Uddhav Thackeray. That he kept NCP’s Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar, the party to which Deshmukh belongs, in the loop, perhaps explains the minister’s outburst. But who fixed whom in the final analysis?

In hindsight it does appear the bomb scare at Antilia was to gorge out a hefty sum from the industrialist to quickly achieve the monthly Rs 50 crore through-other-means target set by Deshmukh. That attempt bombed and revealed the dirty underbelly of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi. Corruption in politics is well known but rarely have politicians occupying high offices been this brazen. The last known fall guy was the then BJP chief Bangaru Laxman, who was caught on tape in 2001 receiving kickbacks in a fake defence deal. Corruption cannot and should not be normalised. Deshmukh must be forced to resign immediately and made to face the full force of the law. Confidence in the police force also needs to be restored so that they are not reduced to hafta collection agents.


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