Amid allegations of corruption in police transfers, Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte has on Thursday submitted a five-page report to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and has refuted the allegations made by Leader of Opposition (LoP) Devendra Fadnavis.
The report contends that no transfers were done during the period in which IPS officer Rashmi Shukla tapped the phones and submitted her report. In 2020, except in a few cases, all transfers were done on the recommendation of the police establishment board.
Kunte's five-page report further made a stunning revelation that after Rashmi Shukla misused the provisions of the Indian Telegram Act while tapping the phones and "misguiding the government", she apologised to the Chief Minister, Home Minister, and the Chief Secretary.
Upon meeting in personally, Shukla accepted her mistake and also spoke about her personal problems, including the death of her husband due to cancer. She also requested to withdraw her report.
Earlier, Fadnavis had claimed that the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA) government did not act on an "incriminating" state intelligence department report containing audio intercepts of a "large scale corruption" in police transfers and postings, and said he would seek a probe by the CBI.
Fadnavis said he had "6.3 GB data" of the calls intercepted by then Commissioner of Intelligence Rashmi Shukla with due permissions, where names of several key police officers were discussed.
All these phone calls were recorded by Shukla with due permission from the state government but despite the submission of the report to the Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) in August, 2020, no action was taken on the report, the BJP leader said.
The ruling coalition then countered these allegations and claimed that transfer of 80% of the police officers mentioned in the report didn’t take place and that Rashmi Shukla illegally tapped the phones of people. NCP leader Nawab Malik also said that Shukla was tapping the phones of all the political leaders even when the state was facing a crisis over government formation in 2019 after the state assembly elections.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Wednesday took serious note of the 'top secret’ documents, especially the covering letter of former additional DG (intelligence) Rashmi Shukla on her report on phone tapping over the alleged police transfer racket and the letter by former DGP Subodh Jaiswal to additional home secretary (home), recommending action. The state government asked the home department to register an offence against unknown persons for the possession of secret documents and making them available to others.
A senior Maha Vikas Aghadi minister had told The Free Press Journal, “It is quite clear that although Shukla continued as the additional director general (intelligence) even after change of government, she was passing along ‘top-secret and confidential’ documents and inputs to the BJP. Shukla continued to show her loyalty to her previous bosses. This has severely damaged the government’s image and put the entire police department in the wrong box. The government will decide on filing an FIR against unknown persons for leaking such confidential documents or initiate disciplinary and punitive action against Shukla after seeking the opinion from the law and judiciary department and the state advocate general.”
He said Shukla had gone ahead with the interception of phones without following the stipulated norms. “Shukla had kept the additional chief secretary (home) in the loop but did not reveal her plan in detail. There is a question mark over her motive,” he added.
This comes in the wake of the allegations of extortion and corruption made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.