Never said IPS officers planned to overthrow MVA government: Anil Deshmukh

Leading from the front: State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh (right) holds a review meeting with Maharashtra Police personnel in Pune on Sunday.  

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Sunday dismissed reports of him having made any claims that a group of IPS officers in the State had attempted to overthrow the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Mr. Deshmukh, who was speaking in Pune, was alluding to an interview given to the online edition of a vernacular daily a day ago.

“This news is completely false... erroneous statements have been put into my mouth. Please see the video clip of the interview and you will realise that I had not said any such thing when I was asked to comment on whether there had been such a move planned by some IPS officers... I had only said that I cannot comment on such things openly,” he said.

Following the interview, there were reports that Mr. Deshmukh had claimed that a plan to topple the government, hatched by four to five senior IPS officers, had been thwarted. Mr. Deshmukh said when asked about such a plan during the interview, he had merely said the police department worked together as one family.

‘Ties with politicians’

“All police officers work well in coordination. Some officers have relationships with some politicians… But I cannot state anything openly. After all, I am the family head [of the Maharashtra Police Department] and all authorities and staff work together as one big family,” he had, hinting that a section of authorities had close ties with the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party government.

Mr. Deshmukh also backed the appointment of Amitabh Gupta as the Pune Police Commissioner. He took charge on Sunday from Dr. K. Venkatesham, who has been transferred as Additional Director General of Police (special campaign).

The appointment has raised eyebrows as Mr. Gupta in April had facilitated the travel of Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhwan, promoters of the scam-hit Dewan Housing Finance Limited, from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar by issuing e-passes to their families, helpers and cooks, violating lockdown rules. Following a furore, Mr. Gupta was sent on compulsory leave. However, after an inquiry cleared him, he resumed his duties in May.

“It is true that when Amitabh Gupta was the erstwhile principal secretary of the Home Department, he had committed a big mistake. No one can justify that. However, he has admitted his mistake and has been punished for it. At the same time, he has a very good track record of service,” Mr. Deshmukh said. Despite backing Mr. Gupta’s new posting, the Home Minister was silent on what ‘punishment’ he had been given for his role in arranging the travel of the businessmen.

‘13% quota for Marathas’

On the fierce opposition of the Maratha community to the mega recruitment process for filling up vacant posts in the police department, Mr. Deshmukh said the MVA government was seeking a legal opinion on keeping 13% posts vacant for the community till the Supreme Court took a decision on the Maratha quota.

“The process of recruitment in the police department had been initiated a couple of months ago and was approved only recently after the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the implementation of the Maratha quota law… but as the recruitment for 12,500 posts will take time and government does not want anyone to be left out, we are planning to keep 13% of the posts vacant for the Maratha community,” he said.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the State Council Praveen Darekar has demanded Mr. Deshmukh’s resignation. “The Home Minister is giving such interviews to divert attention from the MVA government’s failure to control the COVID-19 pandemic… it does not behove of the Home Minister to speak in such a disparaging manner about his own police officers. Maharashtra’s police authorities know their limits and will never contemplate such an act,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 6:32:01 AM |

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