Hitting out at the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, former MP Sanjay Nirupam, said that the Congress must make its stance clear on ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh's allegations against state home minister Anil 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.
"If at all, whatever Parambir Singh is saying is truth, question should be asked from Hon Sharad Pawar ji because he is the arcitect of current Maharashtra Govt. Is it what the so called third front is going to do finally ? Congress must take a stand on this issue," he tweeted.
If at all, whatever Parambir Singh is saying is truth, question should be asked from Hon Sharad Pawar ji because he is the arcitect of current Maharashtra Govt. Is it what the so called third front is going to do finally ?— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) March 20, 2021
Congress must take a stand on this issue.#AnilDeshmukh
The demand by Nirupam came even as the MVA government, comprising Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, is reeling under the impact of the "letter bomb" by the serving IPS officer.
The Chief Minister's Office, in a late night release on Saturday, said Singh's "unsigned letter to Thackeray" was not sent from his official email ID and efforts were on to contact him to verify it.
Ending the speculation, Singh later confirmed that he indeed emailed the letter, a signed copy of which will reach the government shortly.
The IPS officer claimed that the minister told suspended Mumbai police officer Sachin Vaze that he had set a target of collecting Rs 100 crore a month, half of it from nearly 1,750 bars, restaurants and similar establishments operating in the city.
Singh also claimed that Deshmukh "from day one" wanted a case of abetment of suicide to be registered in Mumbai after the death of Dadra and Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar in a Mumbai hotel last month.
Sources in the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress state government said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar are yet to take a call on replacing the home minister in the backdrop of the latest controversy.
BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis sought Deshmukh's the resignation over the claims made by the IPS officer.
"We demand the home minister's resignation. If he doesn't, then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray must remove him. An impartial probe must be conducted. The letter also says the chief minister was informed about this earlier, so why didn't he act on it?" said Fadnavis, Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh has denied all allegations and has claimed that he will file a case of defamation against Singh.
(With PTI inputs)