Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched a blistering attack on the Maharashtra government today, accusing the state's home minister Anil Deshmukh of extorting money for police transfers. The matter was highlighted by former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh, who has also accused the home minister of running an extortion racket with the help of several police officers who have been given a target of Rs 100 crores a month.
"Money was being taken (vasooli) for the transfer for police officers. Extortion is being done... that too for top police officers... The Home Minister of Maharashtra is extorting money for transfers and postings. Was the minister taking money for himself, his party, or his government is yet to be known," the Union Minister told journalists today.
The cash for transfers issue was mentioned by Mr Singh in his petition to the Supreme Court filed over the weekend. He mentioned a report by IPS officer Rashmi Shukla, made last August, alleging malpractices in postings and transfers by Mr Deshmukh.
The information was based on telephonic interception. Ms Shukla, the Commissioner Intelligence, State Intelligence Department, had brought it to the notice of the Director General of Police, who in turn brought it to the knowledge of the state's Additional Chief Secretary Home Department, he said.
"She was shunted out rather than taking any firm action against said Anil Deshmukh," Mr Singh had added.
"See how this vasooli transfer scheme was working," Mr Prasad said. "Sachin Waze was a former cop in Maharashtra. He was removed for 15-16 years. After that he joins the Shiv Sena and is a party member for many years... then suddenly he is reinstated in the police force. The reason they give is that lots of cops are falling ill during the pandemic. Then Sachin Waze is found right in the midst of a conspiracy which involves gelatin sticks, explosives and killings," he added, referring to the explosives scare near the house of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.
The Nationalist Congress Party -- an ally in Maharashtra's ruling alliance -- has dismissed Rashmi Shukla's report as "false claim".
"The list which is mentioned in the report, of that, 80 per cent of transfers haven't happened... false claims were made in the report based on illegal phone tapping," NCP's Nawab Malik has said.
The entire issue, he added, "has been orchestrated to create a sensation in Maharashtra and the entire country".