‘Everything can’t be made public’: Amit Shah on reported meeting with Pawar
Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday gave a cryptic reply to a question about his alleged meeting with Sharad Pawar, whose Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is facing a crisis in Maharashtra over allegations of corruption against the state’s home minister Anil Deshmukh. “Everything need not be made public,” Shah said during a press briefing a day after the first phase of polling in West Bengal and Assam.
Local news reports in Gujarat have said that Pawar and his party colleague Praful Patel on Saturday met Shah at a farmhouse in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad. The meeting assumes significance in the wake of allegations against Deshmukh, who is a leader of the NCP, by the former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh. The NCP along with the Shiv Sena and the Congress is a member of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra.
Singh, who has been transferred to the Home Guard department, in his eight-page letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on March 20 claimed Deshmukh wanted police officers to collect ₹100 crore monthly from bars and hotels. The senior police official also talked about the home minister’s interference in investigations. Deshmukh has dismissed the allegations against him.
Leaders of the BJP have demanded President’s rule in the western state after the arrest of police officer Sachin Waze in connection with the recovery of the explosives-laden vehicle near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house and Singh’s corruption allegations against Deshmukh. Waze, assistant police inspector, has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with its probe into the explosives-laden vehicle found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence on February 25. He is also facing heat in the alleged murder of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who owned the vehicle found near Ambani’s house. Hiran was found dead on March 5.
And, the Shiv Sena also attacked Deshmukh with party lawmaker Sanjay Raut calling the NCP leader an accidental home minister. On its part, the state government has decided to conduct a probe into the allegations against Deshmukh and has begun the process to form a judicial commission to be headed by a retired judge, senior leaders of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government familiar with the developments said.
Deshmukh also said on Sunday that chief minister Thackeray and the state government have decided that a retired judge of the high court will conduct a probe into the allegations against him. “Whatever is the truth will come out,” he told reporters at the Nagpur airport.