In a column in his party mouthpiece Saamna, Shiv Sena MP criticises the NCP Minister of Maharashtra’s ruling alliance
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut Sunday called Anil Deshmukh an “accidental Home Minister”, claiming he got the post after senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders like Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil refused the responsibility.
Mr. Raut’s remarks came amid speculation in political circles that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had met NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel at a top industrialist’s residence in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
At a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday, Mr. Shah parried a query on the purported meeting, saying everything could not be made public.
NCP Minister Nawab Malik, whose party shares power in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena and Congress, said no such meeting had taken place, adding that it was an attempt to create confusion by spreading such rumours. Mr. Malik claimed that Mr. Shah had sought to create confusion by making a journalist ask that question in the media briefing.
In his weekly column “Rokhthok” in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Mr. Raut also said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra did not have damage control machinery as was seen after former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh claimed that Mr. Deshmukh asked cops to collect ₹100 crore a month.
“Deshmukh got the Home Minister’s post by accident. Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil declined the post. That is why Sharad Pawar gave the post to Anil Deshmukh,” Mr. Raut wrote in his weekly column.
Perhaps mindful of the fact that his remarks about a senior Minister of the ruling alliance partner may be viewed in poor light, Mr. Raut later tweeted, “Bura na mano Holi hai..” In his column, Mr. Raut said, “If a junior officer like Sachin Vaze was running a (money) collection racket from the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s office, why was the Home Minister not aware of it?…Vaze was a mere API in Mumbai police. Who gave him so many powers? Whose favourite was he? All this should come out,” Mr. Raut wrote.
“Deshmukh unnecessarily rubbed some police officials the wrong way. A Home Minister cannot function properly if he gets surrounded by suspicious officers,” he said.
Mr. Raut also said that a Home Minister should always “speak less”.
Facing the cameras frequently and ordering inquiries was not his job, the Sena MP added.
“The [Home Minister’s] job is not only for accepting salutes but for giving a strong leadership. How can one forget that strong leadership requires honesty?” Mr. Raut wrote.
Mr. Deshmukh on Sunday said that a retired judge of the High Court would probe the allegations of corruption levelled against him by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh.
Mr. Deshmukh told reporters in Nagpur that he had asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to initiate an inquiry into the allegations made against him by Mr. Singh.
“The Chief Minister and the State government have decided that a retired judge of the High Court will conduct a probe into the allegations against me. Whatever is the truth will come out,” Mr. Deshmukh said.
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