Former home secretary RK Singh's accusations that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde interfered in the investigations of Delhi Police into IPL betting stoked controversy Tuesday with the BJP demanding a probe and the Congress leaders lashing out at RK Singh.
RK Singh, who has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said Delhi Police had informed him that Shinde had told them not to interrogate a businessman in the IPL betting scandal.
He also said Shinde was "unfit to be home minister".
"I was informed by the Delhi Police commissioner that a businessman was to be interrogated. And this fellow (Shinde) said he should not be interrogated," Singh told NDTV.
RK Singh had earlier said the businessman had a shady past and the security agencies had heard he had some links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
He also hit out at Shinde for his remarks that Dawood Ibrahim would be arrested with the help of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"What the home minister has said is baseless. He (Dawood) is in Pakistan under the protection of Pakistani agencies and it is not possible Pakistan would allow us to arrest him," he said.
Asked if he was raising the issues after joining the BJP, Singh said his differences with Shinde started within months of his joining as home secretary. "The differences started within a month or two of my joining. Shinde went on complaining everywhere that I was not listening to him," Singh said.
Asked to compare Shinde with his predecessor P Chidambaram, he said the latter was "100 times better".
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said Shinde should be investigated and dismissed if the home minister interfered in the investigation of Delhi Police.
"The then home secretary has alleged the home minister tried to save a businessman against whom there has been talk of having links with Dawood Ibrahim. We demand there should be investigation of Shinde's role. And, if he had interfered, he should be dismissed," Prasad said.
However, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari condemned RK Singh's remarks.
"If RK Singh or anybody else was really so concerned, why did he not put it on record while he was in service. Why didn't he not articulate the concerns when he was in service?
"Why didn't he meet the cabinet secretary, or for that matter the prime minister if he had reservations on an issue. So, therefore, after retirement and that too after joining a political party, to try and shoot from the hip against somebody under whom you have served, for lack of a better word, is really low and it's a tendency which should be deprecated," Tewari said.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh termed RK Singh's behaviour "opportunistic" and said the former home secretary had tried to get a position after retirement from the United Progressive Alliance government.
"...Why did he not bring this to the notice of cabinet secretary or the PM?
"Is it not a fact that he (Singh) tried to get a post retirement position from the UPA (United Progressive Alliance)? Is it not a fact he approached Nitish (Kumar) for a position? His charges are extremely serious and if he kept quiet then he is guilty also of not fulfilling his assigned responsibility. Shocking!" Divijaya said in tweets.
"Shinde is a seasoned politician and has held responsible positions in state and at the Centre. Such false charges by a former home secretary are condemnable," Digvijaya said.