The Maharashtra government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court's order for a preliminary probe by the CBI into allegations of corruption against NCP leader Anil Deshmukh. Deshmukh resigned as Maharashtra's home minister on Monday after the HC directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days into the allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh. Later, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari handed over the charge of the key department to state cabinet minister and NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil.
Talking to reporters on Tuesday, Walse Patil said the state government will provide all assistance to the CBI in its probe into the allegations. "The government will challenge the high court's order in the Supreme Court," he said.
On March 25, Singh filed a criminal public interest litigation seeking a CBI probe against Deshmukh who, he claimed, had asked police officers, including suspended cop Sachin Waze, to extort Rs 100 crore from bars and restaurants. Deshmukh has denied any wrongdoing.
Walse Patil said he has accepted the responsibility of the key ministerial post at a difficult and challenging time, and will ensure a clean police administration with "no political interference" from his side.
"Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the police force is active on the field. Their job is to maintain law and order and also enforce the COVID-19 curbs," he said.
In April, there will be festivals like the Gudi Padva, Ram Navami and Mahavir Jayanti and the holy month of Ramzan will also begin, he noted.
"Everyone has different expectations. My focus will be the common man. Citizens should trust the police force," he said.
Walse Patil also said he would seek advice from senior serving and former police officials on strengthening and modernisation of the police force. "I will ensure a clean police administration and there will be no political interference from my side," he said.
The minister said his priorities will include enactment of the Shakti bill, which provides for strict punishment in cases of crime against women and children, and to expedite the police housing project.