New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has given a clean chit to Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and said the allegations against Deshmukh, made in former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh's letter, are "vague".
Addressing a press conference in Delhi on Monday, Pawar said ,"From February 5 to-15, Deshmukh was admitted to hospital because of Corona and the hospital has issued a certificate...From February 16 to 27, he was in home quarantine and if you see the former Mumbai Police Commissioner's letter, he mentions that in mid-February he was informed by certain officers that they got such and such instruction from the Maharashtra Home Minister."
On the BJP's demand for the dismissal of the Maharashtra Home Minister Pawar said: "During the period about which the allegations were levelled against Deshmukh, he was hospitalised. So, the demands for his dismissal hold no substance."
Pawar alleged that the former Mumbai top cop's allegation holds no proof and so there is no need for Deshmukh to resign. He also said that this allegation has been levelled to derail the probe into the incident of the SUV laden with explosives found near the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.
Earlier the issue was raised by the BJP in both houses of Parliament. In the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar raised the Anil Deshmukh bribery issue on Monday while members of the Treasury Benches resorted to sloganeering seeking the dismissal of the Maharashtra government.
During the Question Hour, when the turn of Javadekar came to reply to a question regarding his ministry, he said: "I could not hear the question but in Maharashtra, ministers are taking 100 crore bribes and the police are planting bombs which was earlier done by terrorists."
The Treasury Benches demanded the dismissal of the state government.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition on Sunday rejected the demand of the opposition to dismiss state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The NCP said that there was no question of Deshmukh's resignation in the wake of the sensational allegations levelled against him by Singh. On Sunday, the party had a marathon meeting at Pawar's 6, Janpath residence in New Delhi.
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had sparked a political row on Saturday when he alleged that Deshmukh had asked suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who is in NIA custody, to collect Rs 100 crore from Mumbai's restaurants, bars and hookah bars.
(From IANS with edits)