Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh would have saved himself further embarrassment had he resigned when former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh first accused him of demanding Rs 100 a crore per month from collections from dance bars, restaurants and other such establishments. His resignation after the Mumbai High Court surprised everyone by ordering a CBI probe into disgraced Param Bir Singh’s charge after he found himself removed as the Mumbai CP carries little conviction about his moral compunctions.
The fact is after the court order his continuance in office had become highly untenable. But the decision of the Maharashtra Government to approach the Supreme Court for preventing the CBI probe is a sign of desperation. And lends credence to the sensational letter containing the Rs100-crore charge that Singh wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Regardless of how long the three-party government survives, the quick-paced developments after the discovery of an explosives-laden SUV outside the Ambani home last month has shaken the coalition of incompatibles to its very core. The longer it lasts the more vulnerable will it become since only the negative force of keeping the BJP out more than any desire to do good for the people seems to keep it glued to power.
As for the Mumbai High Court order on Monday, directing the CBI to report back within a fortnight on the allegations against Deshmukh did come as a bit of a surprise, coming after it had roundly rebuked Singh for failing to lodge an FIR when two of his junior officers conveyed the demand of Deshmukh.
What the CBI can do in 15 days remains to be seen. However, it can always interrogate the kingpin of the sordid saga, Sachin Vaze, who is in the custody of the NIA. The other officer whom Deshmukh spoke to for demanding the 100-crore-payment-a-month too would be required to corroborate the charge of the former Mumbai CP.
Truth be told, the Thackeray government has become a laughing stock. The ultimate fallout of the nasty mess it is in is not known yet, but the longer it lasts the less good it would do, given the great distrust that divides the coalition partners.