Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was embarrassed on Sunday after his purported statement in an interview to a Marathi paper and a You Tube channel, on efforts by some police officers to bring down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government went viral on the social media. He was quoted as saying that some police officers were exerting pressure on MVA legislators to resign, claiming to have files they could make public. The government had foiled that attempt, he reportedly said. Opposition parties latched on to these remarks and dared Deshmukh to reveal the names of those officers.
Thereafter, Deshmukh clarified that he had never made any such revelation and 'the sentence was put in his mouth'. ‘‘The news item carried by the newspaper is baseless. I never said that some police officers were planning to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The video of my interview is available online and on watching it carefully, the reality will be evident,’’ he noted.
Deshmukh, in an interview, had been asked to explain how efforts were being made by some police officers to topple the government and who were involved in this operation. ‘’That is all right. However, I cannot disclose anything. Some officers are really doing a fine job while others enjoy close relations with certain political leaders. However, I cannot make any public statements,’’ he had said in the interview.
He has not completely denied the 'efforts' of some police officers. The YouTube channel has not withdrawn the interview and the Marathi daily too has said it stands by its story.
The leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, criticised Deshmukh, saying that no one had questioned the integrity of the police force of Maharashtra in the past. ‘‘Deshmukh should have made it clear that there was no attempt by some police officers to bring down the government. Now he is arguing that he is the chief of a police family, which has no meaning,’’ he said.
Bahujan Vikas Aghadi founder Prakash Ambedkar dared Deshmukh to make public the list of police officers who were planning to bring down the government.
Even though Deshmukh does not believe the controversy will flare up, some ministers and legislators have, in conversations off-the-record, clearly said that some police officers, appointees of the Fadnavis government, are passing on key information to the BJP in order to corner the state government. ‘‘We do have information that IPS officers of the additional director general of police were sending messages to some legislators to resign so that the MVA would fall short of a majority. They were hinting at their involvement in some scams or irregularities. This was even discussed with senior MVA leaders and accordingly, some officers were transferred while others were relegated to the sidelines,’’ said a legislator who was elected for the fourth consecutive term in the 2019 assembly elections.