The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday demanded resignation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government headed by Uddhav Thackeray in the wake of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parama Bir Singh's claim that the state's Home Minister Anil Deshmukh set a Rs 100-crore collection target for the police every month, and sought a CBI inquiry into the allegation.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha amidst protests by the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party, Bharatiya Janata Party member Manoj Kotak said that according to Singh's letter to the chief minister, the state's home minister had asked suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze to collect Rs 100 crore from 1,742 bars and restaurants in the metropolis every month.
Kotak said the letter reflected that those who are in the government were using officials in collecting money but the chief minister so far has not uttered a single word on the issue.
"It is a serious matter. The home minister should resign, the Maharashtra government should resign and there should be a CBI inquiry into the whole issue," he said.
BJP member Rakesh Singh that the issue is so serious that it can't be termed a state subject as it has a national implication.
Singh said that the former police commissioner's letter showed that the top functionaries of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government were involved in collecting huge amounts of money through illegal means.
"The allegation against the state home minister was made by none other than the former police commissioner. What was the compulsion of the chief minister to defend an API-rank official, who was in suspension for 16 years, in a press conference," he asked.
Singh claimed that a senior politician from the state had changed his stand after telling that it was a serious matter and there should be an inquiry into it.
"What is the fear. Is there any fear of spilling the beans about those who get cut. If Rs 100 crore collected from Mumbai alone, what would be the figure for the entire Maharashtra," he asked.
He demanded that the MVA government should immediately resign and there should be an impartial inquiry into it.
Another BJP member Kapil Patil said that it was not for the first that such a letter has been written by a senior police officer and even a DGP-rank officer had also written a similar letter in the past.
"A senior leader had said that it is a serious matter but he changed his tune overnight. What is the fear? Fear of spilling the beans," he asked.
However, Shiv Sena member Vinayak Raut strongly defended the MVA government and claimed that the BJP has been hatching a conspiracy to defame the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP dispensation for the last 14 months so that a BJP government can be installed in Mumbai.
"The issue is nothing but part of BJP's big conspiracy," he claimed.
Raut also accused the former Mumbai police commissioner who wrote the sensational letter as the "most corrupt police officer".
The Maharashtra government on March 17 transferred Singh and appointed senior IPS officer Hemant Nagrale as the new commissioner of Mumbai Police.
Days after he was shunted out, Singh wrote a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging that the state home minister had asked Sachin Waze, currently in custody of the National Investigation Agency, and other police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly, including Rs 50 crore to Rs 60 crore from bars and restaurants in Mumbai.
Deshmukh had denied these allegations.
The NIA is probing Waze's alleged role in placing an explosives-laden SUV outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence on February 25.
The SUV was in possession of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who was found dead at a creek near Mumbai. The case related to the death of Hiran was also handed over to the NIA.