Between the recent Ambani bomb scare case and the mysterious death of seven-time MP Mohan Delkar, the Maharashtra Police and state administration have landed themselves in trouble. With ex-CP Param Bir Singh’s explosive letter complicating it further, it is high time that a central investigating agency is called in to investigate the Delkar case.

The current turmoil in the political arena of Maharashtra has brought a twist in many tales. The chaos amongst the police department and ministers in the government has put big question marks on the security of the financial capital of the country. If Mukesh Ambani can be a target, that too of law enforcing agencies, then who is safe in this city?

The revelations regarding Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze have opened a Pandora’s box and many skeletons will come out of the cupboards of Anil Deshmukh and others. The Rs 100-crore-per-month club seems to be connected to the top leadership of the current MVA government. More troubles for the Maharashtra government will be unveiled in the coming days as the letter war between outgoing Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh and Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has just begun. While Deshmukh has framed Singh in the Antilia bomb case, Singh has responded with a lethal letter-bomb addressed to Chief Minister Aditya Thackeray in which he cites that Deshmukh made a police officer collect money from business establishments, bars, parlours, etc.

The most shocking revelations by Param Bir Singh is about the late Mohan Delkar, MP of Dadra & Nagar Haveli (DNH). In his written submission to Chief Minister Thackeray, after he was shunted out to Home Guard, he states that Anil Deshmukh pressured him to file an FIR for abetment to suicide in the death case of Mohan Delkar. Apparently, Deshmukh forced him to lodge the FIR at the Marine Lines police station and include Praful Patel and other officers of the Dadra & Nagar Haveli administration. However, Singh has suggested that since the alleged abetment was committed in Dadra & Nagar Haveli, it is for the DNH Police, not Mumbai Police, to investigate the case.

The big question here is: Why was Deshmukh keen to get the case investigated by Mumbai Police? What were the reasons for insisting on it, despite the legality of the jurisdiction which could have been challenged in court and fallen apart? Is there something underneath which links the Mohan Delkar death case? Is the Maharashtra Home Minister using the police to convert a murder case into suicide? After the confession of Sachin Vaze in the Ambani bomb scare case, the credibility of Maharashtra’s police and state government is at stake.

As more conspiracy theories unfold with each passing day in Mumbai, it is getting harder to believe the police and politicians of Maharashtra. The Mohan Delkar death case should be handed over to the central investigating agency now to find out the exact cause of his death. His family should demand it, as Mohan Delkar was not a weak person by any means. The cause of his death portrays him as a coward, but people who knew him are not ready to buy it. Delkar was a man with rock-solid will power. He might have faced numerous criminal and civil cases in his lifetime but he was never put down or demoralised by them. The abetment case may not stand a minute in the courtroom as there were no personal grievances involved. Officers were defending cases filed against him to protect personal or public property from encroachment, which is their duty. If there is any malice among the officers, the cases would have been dropped and the officers would be punished by the court. If such cases are amounted to be abetment, then no officer will be able to perform their duty.

Mohan Delkar was born on 19 December 1962 to Sanjibhai Delkar, who was elected to Lok Sabha from DNH in 1967 as an Indian National Congress candidate and joined Morarji Desai’s NCO faction when the party split in 1969. Mohan started his career as a trade union leader in Silvassa and fought for the rights of tribal people working in different factories. In 1985, he started the Adivasi Vikas Sangathan for the tribal people. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989 from the Dadra and Nagar Haveli constituency as an independent candidate. In 1991 and 1996, he was re-elected as a Congress candidate from the same constituency. In 1998, he was again elected to the Lok Sabha as a BJP candidate from the constituency. In 1999 and 2004, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha as an independent and Bhartiya Navshakti Party (BNP) candidate, respectively. However, he lost in the 2009 and 2014 elections as a Congress candidate. After that, in 2019, he distanced himself from the Congress and was elected as an independent politician. Recently, he had switched to join the Janta Dal (United) led by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.

In Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Mohan Delkar was a larger-than-life figure. He will remain so in the hearts of the tribal-dominated union territory forever. Thousands of people thronged the Vinoba Bhave Hospital soon after the news of his death broke in the tribal town of Silvassa. Such was the popularity of the seven-time Member of Parliament among the locals. Delkar lived his life like Robin Hood in the tribal district for over 50 years. Be it a domestic dispute or an industrial wage problem, the setting up of a factory or selling off of land, his words used to be considered the final say in any matter. Nothing was possible without his knowledge and consent. He was a king until he lost the election to Natu Patel in 2009, when he switched to Congress and held a huge rally for Sonia Gandhi. He held his ground by winning the district panchayat and regained his strength by winning the 2019 general election. Delkar amassed money, muscle and political power, and enjoyed it to the fullest. He was a very good orator, had a pleasing personality and was a good commander of his cadre. He used to take great care of the tribal villagers, but at the cost of the industry.

This powerful person was found dead in a hotel in south Mumbai on 22 February. The Mumbai Police registered an FIR against Praful Patel, the Administrator of Dadra Nagar Haveli & Daman Diu, the Collector and SP of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and five others for their alleged involvement in the suicide of Delkar at the Marine Drive police station based on a complaint by Delkar’s son, Abhinav, under the IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 506 (criminal intimidation), 389 (putting the person in accusation of offence to commit extortion) and the Prevention of Atrocities Act. The police also recovered a 15-page suicide note from Delkar’s hotel room, written on his letterhead. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh then announced that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) would probe the alleged suicide and announced in the state assembly that Delkar’s suicide note had stated that the Praful Patel had been harassing the MP.

However, the sequence of events suggests something fishy and has led to many theories. Was the MP being blackmailed? Is there a murder angle as suicide seems to be an abnormal activity in this case? Is there any connection between Delkar’s death and Deshmukh’s “Rs 100 crore a month” target set for Mumbai Police officials, as has been claimed in former CP Param Bir Singh’s letter? Given the situation, the investigation of the case must be handed over to a central agency now.

The writer is Research Scholar, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Surat. The views expressed are personal.