Hitting out at his party’s ally, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday called NCP leader Anil Deshmukh an accidental home minister. Raut alleged that Deshmukh got the state cabinet post after senior NCP leaders like Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil refused the responsibility.
Raut’s comments come in the backdrop of former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh levelling allegations of corruption against Deshmukh.
Singh, in an eight-page letter addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleged that Deshmukh used to call police officers to his official residence and give them a "collection target" asking them to collect funds worth at least Rs 100 crore per month from bars, restaurants and other establishments.
In his weekly column Rokhthok in the party mouthpiece Saamana, Raut also said the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra did not have damage control machinery as was seen in the aftermath of the “letter bomb” controversy.
"Deshmukh got the home minister's post by accident. Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil refused to take responsibility. That is why Sharad Pawar selected Anil Deshmukh for the post," 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, Raut later tweeted, "Bura na mano Holi hai.."
In his column, 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 much power? Whose favourite was he? All this should come out," 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.
Raut said a home minister should always speak less. Facing the cameras frequently and ordering inquiries is 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," Raut wrote.
The MVA government had no damage control machinery when Singh dropped his letter bomb, Raut said. "No major leader came forward to defend the image of the government, which led people to believe in Singh’s allegations," he added.
IPS officials Sanjeev Bhat in Gujarat and Vaibhav Krishna in Uttar Pradesh had raised concerns on various issues through letters written to their chief ministers but these letters were thrown in the dust bin and instead action was taken against those officials, Raut said.
Responding to Raut’s comments, Deshmukh on Sunday said a former High Court judge will probe the corruption allegations against him.
(With PTI inputs)