Nagpur: After NCP supremo Sharad Pawar granted clean chit to home minister Anil Deshmukh, leader of opposition Devendra Fadanvis questioned the minister over former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s ‘letter bomb’.
Coming to Deshmukh’s rescue, Pawar on Monday claimed that the home minister was in isolation in February due to Covid-19 infection and, therefore, didn’t meet anyone as alleged by Singh in his eight-page letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Fadanvis however, questioned how the minister had convened a press conference in Nagpur outside Alexis Hospital in presence of his security guards after getting discharge.
“It seems Pawar wasn’t briefed properly on Singh’s letter. The SMS evidence given by the former Mumbai police commissioner shows that (Deshmukh’s) meeting date (with suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze, now in NIA’s custody) was mentioned as end of February. Now, who’s diverting the issue?” said Fadnavis.
Responding to the charges, Deshmukh then released videos in Hindi and Marathi clarifying his stand. “I was admitted to the hospital from February 5 to 15 after testing positive for coronavirus. When I was discharged and was going home, many media men were waiting with their cameras outside. They wanted to talk to me on various issues,” he said.
Deshmukh added that as he was having weakness due to Covid-19 infection, he preferred to sit on a chair kept at the lawns on the hospital’s premises. “After answering their queries, I went on home isolation till February 27. I moved out only on February 28 for a meeting at Sahyadri,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, after beefing up security outside Deshmukh’s house, the city police on Monday deployed additional security with barricades in front of Fadnavis’s residence at Dharampeth apprehending protests from various groups.
Singh has moved the Supreme Court demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) against Deshmukh.
In his letter, the former Mumbai top cop had labelled serious allegations against Deshmukh that included asking Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore every month from about 1,750 bars and restaurants in the state capital.