File image of CM Uddhav Thackeray with Anil Deshmukh (PTI Photo)
The Maharashtra government and former state home minister Anil Deshmukh would approach the Supreme Court to challenge the probe order issued by Bombay High Court into the corruption allegations levelled by ex-Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh, reports said on April 5.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government would be represented by senior Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi in the apex court, the reports claimed.
The high court, earlier in the day, ordered a preliminary inquiry to be conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the allegations of illegal transfers and extortion levelled against Deshmukh.
The preliminary inquiry should begin within 15 days, and based on the findings, the central agency can decide on the future course of action, the bench said.
"Director of CBI is allowed to conduct a preliminary inquiry. Such preliminary inquiry be ordered in accordance with law and be concluded within 15 days once the preliminary inquiry is complete, director CBI (would) be at discretion to (decide on the) further course of action," the court said.
Following the Bombay HC order, Deshmukh submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The embattled Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, in his resignation note, said he is stepping down on "moral grounds" till the completion of the probe.
Shortly after Deshmukh's resignation was confirmed, NCP leader Dilip Walse-Patil was announced as the next Maharashtra Home Minister.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the prime opposition party in the state, demanded Thackeray to "break his silence" on the issue.
"This is not Maha Vikas Aghadi but Maha Vasooli (extortion) Aghadi. Anil Deshmukh has resigned on moral grounds -- these are big words," Union Minister and BJP veteran Ravi Shankar Prasad said, further questioning whether Thackeray has the moral right to continue as the CM.
The controversy involving the alleged extortion racket surfaced after Singh - who was removed as Mumbai's top cop - wrote an eight-page letter to Thackeray on March 20, claiming that Deshmukh had asked police officers, including suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Waze, to "collect Rs 100 crore each month" from bars and restaurants.