New Delhi (Agencies): A Supreme Court judge raised questions over how Vilasrao Deshmukh is allowed to continue as Union Cabinet minister after he was rapped by Apex Court for influencing police from taking action against a Congress MLA in a money lending case when he was Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

"It is sad and shocking to see how the government allows and appreciates such ministers. Not only that, it also gives them a Cabinet post. It is not a dignified act and I would call it a shameless act," Justice A K Ganguly said at a seminar in Mumbai on Saturday.

Justice Ganguly, who along with Justice G S Singhvi had criticised Deshmukh for shielding a Congress MLA's family from complaints on money lending by poor farmers during his tenure
as chief minister, today said, "I have nothing more to say on it. I said whatever I wanted to say and I am not denying it."

Deshmukh, who was earlier holding Heavy Industries portfolio, has recently been shifted to Rural Development Ministry.

Justice Ganguly's remarks came against the backdrop of concerns expressed over exploitation of poor farmers at the hands of moneylenders. He referred to the case when the then Maharashtra chief minister had tried to protect moneylenders including the MLA from police action.

The judge was speaking at a two-day conference on gender concern in conflict zones.

The Supreme Court had in its December 14 judgement termed Deshmukh's behaviour as  anachronistic and incongruous and had enhanced to Rs 10 lakh the fine of Rs 25,000 imposed by the Bombay High Court on the Maharashtra government.

The court had said the action of Deshmukh was condemnable as he acted beyond "all legal norms" for "political consideration" despite Vidharbha region having the dubious distinction of witnessing the largest number of farmers' suicides.

"Chief Minister's instructions are so incongruous and anachronistic, being in defiance of all logic and reason, that our conscience is deeply disturbed. We condemn the same in no uncertain terms," the bench had said.