Anil Deshmukh, the Maharashtra Home Minister, resigned on Monday, hours after the Bombay High Court asked the CBI to investigate charges of corruption and misconduct levied against him. Mr Deshmukh wrote in his resignation letter, “I don’t have the moral right to continue in office after the court order. I have decided to quit. Kindly relieve me from my post,“.
For weeks, Mr Deshmukh had defied calls for his resignation, arguing that he had done nothing wrong. His party had also ruled out his departure, and amid a rift within the coalition. Devendra Fadnavis demanded Deshmukh’s resignation earlier today after the Bombay High Court ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into charges of corruption and misconduct levied against him by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh within 15 days.
In a petition, Param Bir Singh, who was recently replaced as Mumbai Police Commissioner, claims that Mr Deshmukh targeted him because he had filed a complaint with Uddhav Thackeray alleging bribery and illegal transfers against the minister. The CBI has been given 15 days to investigate the charges by the High court today. Soon after Anil Deshmukh resignation, the BJP pointed the finger at the Chief Minister, claiming that his “obvious silence” was raising questions and that he had lost his moral authority to rule.
The HC instructed the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation to conclude the preliminary investigation within 15 days and then make a decision on the next steps. The bench was hearing three public interest lawsuits, one filed by Singh, another by city-based lawyer Jayshree Patil, and the third by teacher Mohan Bhide, all of which sought various reliefs.