Rakesh Maria gets a breather

Rakesh Maria gets a breather

Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, who has been embroiled in a raging controversy over meeting former IPL boss Lalit Modi in London in June 2014, on Wednesday night got a much-needed breather from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who virtually gave him a clean chit.

“Prima facie explanation of CP Mr. Maria appears satisfactory. However, some points need further elaboration, have asked ACS to look into it,” Fadnavis tweeted on Wednesday night.

Maria had met Fadnavis to explain his side of the story and also met Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi, to whom he reports on a regular basis. The bureaucrat has examined the version of Maria and forwarded the file to the chief minister. 

On Wednesday, he also got a support from the Shiv Sena, which is a key partner of the BJP at the Centre and in the state government. 

The Shiv Sena support comes a day after the Congress mounted attack on him and three days after NCP chief and former BCCI president Sharad Pawar commenting —­ “anyone can meet anyone abroad, politics shouldn’t be brought into this”.. 

“Rakesh Maria has done a very good job as Commissioner and as chief of Anti-Terrorism Squad....the Shiv Sena is fully with him....you can't have different yardsticks for politicians and others,” Shiv Sena spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said. 

“Politics is being played over who Lalit Modi met in the past five to 10 years. Firstly, it was a Union minister (Sushma Swaraj), then a chief minister (Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan), and now Mumbai’s powerful police chief. A nonsensical attempt is being made to drag him into the dock,” the Sena said in an editorial in its Marathi mouthpiece “Saamana” and Hindi tabloid “Dophar ka Saamana”.

Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had distanced himself from the issue saying that he was not informed about the meeting – either before or after – and such visits were cleared by the home minister, the post then held by late R R Patil of the NCP. 

The Sena hit back, “If Maria informed the then Home Minister and not Chavan, it did not really matter as there were many other shady affairs happening then about which Chavan was informed.”

Veteran Congressman and Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly R Vikhe Patil demanded suspension of Maria.

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