In a major development, the Maharashtra government has issued the order to form a one-member committee to probe the explosive extortion charges levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

The committee led by retired High Court judge Kailash Chandiwal will probe the matter and submit a report within six months.

Justice Chandiwal will investigate whether there is any substance in the allegations levelled against Anil Deshmukh or any of his staff. He will also examine the former Mumbai top cop's letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and decide on whether or not there is a need for a probe by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

To recall, Param Bir Singh had alleged that Deshmukh summoned now under-investigation police officer Sachin Vaze and reportedly sought his help in collecting Rs 100 crore a month by extorting money from bars, restaurants and other establishments in Mumbai.

Param Bir Singh also accused the home minister of interference in ongoing police investigations.

In his letter, the former Mumbai Police chief alleged that he had brought to the chief minister's notice instances of Deshmukh's alleged malpractices.

Deshmukh, meanwhile, had flatly rejected the allegations and said this was an attempt on Param Bir Singh's part to save himself from prosecution in the Antilia bomb scare case.

The development comes a day before Param Bir Singh's plea, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe against Anil Deshmukh, is taken up by the Bombay High Court.