Expressing shock at the recurring CBI raids on the residence of former state Interior Minister Anil Deshmukh, Pawar He said: “I was told that CBI set a new record by raiding Deshmukh’s residence five times … CBI must reveal to the people the outcome of these raids.” In response to Pawar’s statement in Goa, former CM Devendra Fadnavis said that the action against Deshmukh is according to the directives of the Bombay High Court, which ordered the CBI investigation. He said Pawar “must be concerned about the 1 billion rupee deals that have been exposed … this network of dalals (wheel dealers) must be destroyed.”
How can an ‘accused’ become a government witness, asks Pawar
Early in his media interaction, Pawar spoke on a variety of topics including searches at Deshmukh’s residence, the NCB case against Shah Rukh Khan’s son, the sugar crisis, the lack of progress in the India-to-India talks. and China, the apparent disappearance of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and the Lakhimpur-Kheri killings.
“One of the witnesses brought in by the NCB (in the case of Aryan Khan) is on the run according to Pune police records. How can a defendant in a series of criminal cases be a witness for a government agency? Basic procedure has been circumvented, witnesses were brought in without verifying their credentials, ” Pawar said.
More shocking is the fact that Param Bir Singh, who filed a complaint against Deshmukh, has disappeared. “After Singh’s complaint, Deshmukh had resigned on his own to allow a fair investigation, but now the former PC himself is missing. It is quite shocking that a high ranking IPS official who ran the Mumbai police is on the run, ”Pawar said.
He said it was regrettable that former CM Devendra Fadnavis compared the Lakhimpur incident to the Mawal incident a decade ago, when farmers were killed in police shooting. “The BJP instigated the agitators farmers, after which there was violence. The police opened fire to maintain law and order. Later, the farmers confirmed that the government was not responsible for the firing of the police … PNC nominee Sunil Shelke still won the 2019 assembly election by a record margin of 90,000 votes. ”
Pawar said that both UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister Ajay Mishra should accept responsibility for the recent murders of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri and resign. “Mishra’s son was arrested only after the SC intervened and sought a report of action taken,” he said.
On the situation in the sugar industry, Pawar said a bumper crop had put pressure to disburse the compensation. “The crushing season will start in fifteen days, until now the practice was to pay farmers in installments, now all of a sudden there is a demand for payment in installments, which may not be possible for most units. If there is no change in attitude, then the sugar mills of the state will face the fate of the textile mills in Mumbai, ” he said.
Pawar also noted that after 13 meetings, there was no progress in the border dispute between India and China. “We need a joint strategy, the NDA government must convene a meeting of political parties to take stock,” he said.
(With input from Clara Lewis)