New Delhi: In a major setback to the Maharashtra government and its constituents - the NCP and the Shiv Sena in particular- the Supreme Court on Thursday, April 8, rejected the pleas to cancel the CBI probe into the high profile Vaze-Anil Deshmukh extortion racket row. "It is a matter of public confidence. We are not inclined to entertain this..... (plea) dismissed,” said Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul after a powerful argument put forward briefly by counsel Kapil Sibal. The state government and NCP leader and former state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had challenged the Bombay High Court order directing a CBI probe into allegations of extortion and bribery levelled against him by senior cop and former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The court maintained that the nature of allegations and persons involved in the case were of serious nature and thus there ought to be "an enquiry by an independent agency”. In its plea, the petitioners had questioned the 'procedure' adopted by the High Court saying the state government was not heard on the question of maintainability of the pleas seeking CBI investigation against Deshmukh. The BJP stepped up attack against the Uddhav Thackeray government and said in the light of the daily developments in connection with the case, the Chief Minister must step down. At the party headquarters in Delhi, BJP spokesman and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "Sena leaders and the state government have repeatedly tried to defend Sachin Vaze. On March 11, they said, Sachin Vaze is not Osama bin Laden. After his arrest on March 14, Sanjay Raut said, Sachin is a very efficient and intelligent officer". Javadekar further said, "The entire Sachin Vaze and Home Minister (Anil Deshmukh) controversy shows the character of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra. They have no right to remain in power and we demand their resignation". Close on the heels of the Bombay High Court order directing for a CBI probe into the conduct of NCP leader Anil Deshmukh and related matters, Mr Deshmukh had tendered his resignation on Monday.
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