New Delhi, April 5

The 16-month-old Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra suffered the first jolt on Monday with Home Minister Anil Deshmukh sending his resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Deshmukh, member of the NCP in the three party ruling alliance with Shiv Sena and Congress, resigned hours after the Bombay High Court ordered the CBI to hold preliminary enquiry into former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s allegations against Deshmukh running an extortion wing.

Singh in his petition to the Supreme Court had earlier alleged that Deshmukh was pressuring cops, including disgraced Sanjay Waze, to collect Rs 100 crore monthly extortion charges from bars and restaurants.

Deshmukh and the NCP have denied any wrongdoing with NCP chief Sharad Pawar repeatedly defending Deshmukh and questioning the allegations of Singh’s timing — after Singh was transferred for botching up the probe in planting of gelatine sticks in an SUV outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai followed by death of the SUV owner.

Deshmukh’s resignation comes days after the purported meeting between Pawar and Home Minister Amit Shah in Ahmedabad.

Neither side denied the meeting.

The resignation could mean a huge political blow to Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA, with the BJP demanding the resignation of the CM following the Vaze episode.

NCP’s Dilip Patil set to be next Home Minister of Maharashtra after Deshmukh resigns.

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