National Congress Party (NCP) leader Dilip Walse Patil is expected to replace Anil Deshmukh as the new home minister of Maharashtra. Deshmukh resigned on Monday from his post, hours after the Bombay High Court ordered a CBI probe into corruption charges leveled against him.
Earlier in the day, the high court ordered a CBI probe into the graft charges against Deshmukh by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh. The court directed the central agency to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days.
In his letter, Deshmukh said he is stepping down on “moral grounds” after the Bombay High Court’s order. He sent his letter of resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who heads an alliance government on Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress.
Last month, former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh triggered a row claiming that Deshmukh had asked suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, who has been arrested in the SUV case and is in NIA custody, to collect Rs 100 crore from Mumbai’s restaurants, bars and hookah bars.
Singh had alleged that Deshmukh used to call police officers to his official residence and give them a “collection target” from bars, restaurants and other establishments.
A six-time member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Patil, the frontrunner for the home minister’s post, is currently serving as minister of excise and labor department in the Uddhav Thackeray cabinet. Previously, Patil headed the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Energy Ministry, Higher and Technical Education Ministry, and Medical Education Ministry, all as a Cabinet Minister from 1999 to 2009. He is known to be a close associate of party president Sharad Pawar. Patil had started his political career as a PA to Pawar.