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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Maharashtra ‘letter-bomb’ probe panel: BJP calls it ‘eyewash’

A day after the Maharashtra government announced a high-level inquiry headed by a retired judge to probe the allegations of ex-Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s allegations against Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party termed it as an ‘eyewash’, here on Wednesday.

Reacting to the panel headed by retired Bombay High Court judge, Justice Kailash U. Chandiwal, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said it’s just “a committee and not a judicial commission.”

The Maha Vikas Aghadi, in a late Tuesday notification named Justice Chandiwal for the probe which will be completed in six months, and listed out the terms of reference for its inquiry.

The probe will not be a ‘judicial commission’ under the Commission of Inquiry Act, but is a ‘high-level committee’, the opposition pointed out.

“Neither it is constituted nor has been given the powers under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, as was done in the case of the Justice D. S. Zoting Committee during our tenure,” Fadnavis said.

The reference was to the panel appointed to probe the allegations against former senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse, who quit as Revenue Minister and has now joined the Nationalist Congress Party.

“We are of the view that appointing such a committee is merely an eyewash and does not solve any purpose, looking at the gravity and severity of the allegations! Now the question remains how will a retired judge without power enquire against a sitting home minister?” said Fadnavis.

The appointment of the committee follows Singh’s transfer as Commandant-General, Home Guards, and his subsequent allegations in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on March 20 that Deshmukh had asked a junior police official Sachin Vaze to collect Rs.100-crore per month.

As the ‘letter-bomb’ sparked a massive political uproar earlier this month, the IPS officer followed it up by moving the Supreme Court which directed him to first approach the Bombay High Court, which has taken up the hearing of his plea today.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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