After former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh alleged that tainted police officer Sachin Vaze had a meeting with Anil Deshmukh wherein he was asked by the Home Minister to extort money from business owners in Mumbai, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has come in the defence of Deshmukh, alleging that he was in the hospital from February 6-16 and was later under quarantine from February 16 to 27.
Addressing the media amid a political storm over former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s corruption allegations against the home minister, Pawar said, “Anil Deshmukh was in the hospital from February 5 to 15 and from February 15 to 27, he was in home isolation in Nagpur.”
If you see the former Commissioner’s letter, he mentions that in mid-February he was informed by certain officers that they got such and such instructions from Home Minister…From 6th-16th Feb, Mr Deshmuklh was admitted in the hospital because of Corona: NCP chief Sharad Pawar pic.twitter.com/9J1PNyZ7Vr— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2021
Essentially, Sharad Pawar rubbished the allegations made by Param Bir Singh in his letter about the meeting between Anil Deshmukh and Sachin Vaze, claiming that the Maharashtra Home Minister was down with coronavirus during the period February 6 to 16.
However, Pawar was caught off-guard when the journalists told him that Deshmukh had attended a press conference during the said time period. During the press conference, when journalists and reporters informed the NCP chief that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had organised a press conference on February 15 and that he was not in a hospital, Pawar appeared baffled as he reiterated his statement that Deshmukh was hospitalised during the said period. Pawar then went on to chastise the reporters for diverting the issue.
#WATCH: NCP chief Sharad Pawar replies to questions over BJP’s Amit Malviya’s tweet that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was holding a press conference on Feb 15th, as opposed to the NCP chief’s statement that he was admitted to hospital at the time. pic.twitter.com/7f4lYLIdaV— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2021
Anil Deshmukh meets Congress delegation on February 8, convenes a press conference on February 15
However, even as Pawar jumps in the defence of his party man Anil Deshmukh, it is important to note that the Maharashtra Home Minister had addressed a press conference on February 15. The same was shared by Deshmukh on his Twitter page. In fact, the press conference was related to the celebrities coming out in support of the Indian government after popstar Rihanna and some international names had deviously tried to internationalise the ongoing ‘farmers’ protests.
Prominent Bollywood personalities Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Suniel Shetty, Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor, Kailash Kher and several others have called for unity in the light of comments made by several international figures, including singer Rihanna and activist Greta Thunberg, over the ongoing farmers’ protests. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had then called a press conference in which he said that he had called an inquiry into the matter to ascertain if the BJP IT cell was involved in the case.
असून सचिन तेंडुलकर यांना संपूर्ण देशातील जनता मानत असल्याने त्यांच्या चौकशीचा प्रश्नच उदभवत नाही. या ट्विट प्रकरणात भाजपच्या आयटी सेलचा प्रमुख आणि इतर १२ इन्फ्लुएन्सरचा समावेश असल्याचे महाराष्ट्र पोलिसांच्या प्राथमिक तपासात समोर आले आहे. त्यानुसार पोलीस कार्यवाही करत आहेत. (२/२)— ANIL DESHMUKH (@AnilDeshmukhNCP) February 15, 2021
It is also noteworthy to mention that on February 8, a delegation of the Congress party had met Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh to assert that Indian celebrities reacted to Rihanna’s tweet under pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Clearly, Deshmukh was not hospitalised as alleged by Sharad Pawar in his recent press conference.
Deshmukh rushes in the defence of Sharad Pawar, addressed press outside the hospital
After Sharad Pawar came in the defence of Anil Deshmukh, it was the latter’s time to defend the former. After questions were raised of Sharad Pawar on the hospitalisation chronology he mentioned, Deshmukh has now come forward to issue a clarification. The Maharashtra Home Minister said that the press conference he had addressed on February 15 was from outside the hospital after he got discharged on February 15th.
I was in home quarantine from February 15th to 27th. I stepped out of my house for the first time on February 28th: Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2021
“A few journalists were waiting for me at the hospital gate after I got discharged on 15th February. I was feeling low and weak so I sat on the chair there and responded to their questions. Then I went straight to my car and went home,” Deshmukh said.
“I was in home quarantine from February 15th to 27th. I stepped out of my house for the first time on February 28th” he said.
Anil Deshmukh had paid last respect to his security guard on February 18
However, soon after he claimed that he was quarantined raised questions over a tweet posted by him on February 18 where he could be seen paying tributes to a police officer who worked as a security guard at his bungalow in Nagpur.
My wife Arti Deshmukh & I paid our last respect to police officer Sanjay Naranware who passed away in a tragic accident. He worked as a security guard at my bungalow in Nagpur. With Sanjay’s departure, we have lost one of our family members. We also met his family& consoled them. pic.twitter.com/pRpLdrPPvn— ANIL DESHMUKH (@AnilDeshmukhNCP) February 18, 2021
Clearly, the minister was not under quarantine as claimed by him and Sharad Pawar. After Param Bir Singh’s allegations, the haste with which senior political leaders in NCP and the Maharashtra government have been coming up with defences and clarifications has further deepened the mystery.