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Graft allegations: Anil Deshmukh grilled by CBI for 8 hrs

Mumbai: Ex-Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was grilled for over eight hours by two senior CBI officers on Wednesday in connection with the allegations of corruption levelled against him by former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh, official sources said.

He was subjected to over three-dozen questions pertaining to Singh’s accusations on alleged corruption in the home department which he had detailed in his ‘letter-bomb’ dated March 20.

The sources said that replying to most of the questions, Deshmukh reportedly contended that he was not involved in the matter and maintained that the allegations were levelled with political motives.

Deshmukh’s grilling was part of the “preliminary enquiry” being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as ordered by the Bombay High Court, which needs to be completed within 15 days.

The senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader had reached the DRDO Guest House in Kalina at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Earlier on Monday, the CBI had quizzed and recorded the statements of two of Deshmukh’s aides — Kundan Shinde and Sanjeev Palande.

Besides, it has also questioned Singh, suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sanjay Patil and one of the complainants, Jayshri Patil, and some other witnesses.

Sources said that Deshmukh was also questioned on the allegations levelled by Sachin Vaze, accusing the ex-Home Minister of demanding Rs 2 crore from him to reinstate Vaze into service.

Following his transfer as Commandant-General of Home Guard, Singh had sent a ‘letter-bomb’ to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray triggering a series of developments which ultimately led to the resignation of Deshmukh.

As per the high court orders, it will be left to the CBI’s discretion whether to file an FIR in the matter after completing its preliminary enquiry into Singh’s letter which had accused Deshmukh of ordering Vaze and others to ‘collect’ Rs 100 crore per month from bars and restaurants in Mumbai, sparking off a major political row that has shook the police department.

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