If Rs 100 cr was target by Anil Deshmukh, what was the target of other ministers, asks Ravi Shankar Prasad

A day after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh levelled 'extortion' allegations against Maharashtra's Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government has lost the moral authority to govern the State even for a day. Singh made some startling revelations in his letter addressed to Thackeray.

While launching a scathing attack on the MVA government, the Union Law Minister, as quoted by news agency ANI, said, “If Rs 100 cr was the target by Home Minister (Maharashtra) then what was the target by other ministers. Uddhav Thackeray’s government has lost the moral authority to govern the State even for a day.”

He also questioned the "silence" of NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the matter though his party colleague and home minister Anil Deshmukh has been accused of asking the policeman to "extort Rs 100 crore from dance bars etc. every month".

"The Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra has been formed with an intention to loot and not to govern. The BJP is going to raise this issue very strongly and will soon hit the streets", Prasad declared at a press conference at the party office here.

Charging Thackeray with having betrayed the NDA for the sake of power, Prasad wondered whether the sordid turn of events were in consonance with the "Jai Maharashtra" (hail Maharashtra) slogan popularised by his late father and Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, "for whom I have tremendous respect".

Referring to the explosive letter written to Thackeray by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, the BJP MP from Patna Sahib said, "extortion is a crime. A policeman indulging in it and that too at the behest of the home minister of the state is a very serious matter. It must be probed in an honest and transparent manner by an outside agency".

Training his guns at Sharad Pawar, the BJP leader said "the very senior leader" needed to break his "silence" and hold forth as to in what capacity was he recently "briefed" about the whole episode by Anil Deshmukh.

"Pawar is not a part of the government. Moreover, the so- called briefing makes it amply clear that he is aware of the serious charges against a member of his party. As a party chief, what action is he going to take", Prasad asked.

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh on Saturday claimed that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh wanted police officers to collect at least Rs 100 crore from city bars and hotels every month, a charge which Deshmukh has denied.

The allegations were made a day after Deshmukh said Param Bir Singh was moved out as Mumbai Police Commissioner so that cases pertaining to Waze were probed without obstruction. In the letter addressed to CM Thackeray, Param Bir Singh, who has now been posted as Commandant General of Home Guards, said that he has been "made a scapegoat to divert attention from the actual wrongdoers".

Responding to the letter, Deshmukh, NCP leader from Vidarbha region, said Singh was hurling false accusations "to save his skin" in the Waze case, adding he will file a defamation case against the former Mumbai police chief.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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