In a major development, IPS Officer Rashmi Shukla has filed a writ petition in the High Court in Hyderabad on April 29 against the summons issued by the Mumbai police's cyber cell in connection with the phone-tapping case. The alleged tapping of phones had taken place when Shukla headed the Maharashtra intelligence department.
In her petition filed before the court, Shukla said that the investigation of the case had been undertaken to harass her. She further stated in her petition that she apprehended arrest since the said issue was politically motivated against her. The matter is listed for hearing on May 6.
Shukla had moved the petition through her lawyer Veerender Singh and the respondents in the case are Union of India, State of Maharashtra, Government of Maharashtra, Director General of Police Sanjay Pandey, Commissioner of Mumbai Police Hemant Nagrale and an Assistant Commissioner of Police from the cyber cell, who is probing the case.
In her petition, Shukla has stated that the investigation of the case had been undertaken to harass her out of political vendetta and that there was apprehension of her being arrested since the said issue was politically motivated against her. “The alleged contention of the police is that I am holding confidential documents with me and there is an apprehension that the police on my appearance in person may issue a notice to me and try to apprehend me in the false case. As the matter of fact, I have handed over all the confidential documents and electronic devices like pen drive etc to my successor, as a part of charge on September 02, 2020. It is further respectfully submitted that I have acted upon as compliance of my services and duties in good faith. There is political vendetta against me. And if my apprehension shall come true and I am been arrested wherein my deputation of Central government and my services will be put under suspension and hardship which shall be jeopardised,” the petition stated.
Shukla did not respond to calls and messages.
The cyber department had, on April 26, issued summons to Shukla, currently posed in Hyderabad, asking her to appear before the BKC Cyber department on April 28 by 11am in connection with an offence registered in the phone-tapping matter.
Replying to the summons a day after through email, Shukla had expressed her inability to appear before the department due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She had also requested that the questionnaire be sent to her, to avoid any delay in the investigation.
On April 29, the police again issued summons to Shukla, asking her to record her statement in Mumbai on May 3.
An FIR was registered under the Official Secrets Act at the BKC cyber police station against unidentified persons, for allegedly tapping phones illegally and leaking certain confidential documents, on a complaint filed by the State Intelligence Department.
The FIR also invoked section 30 of the Indian Telegraph Act and section 43(B) of the Information Technology Act.
The alleged tapping of phones had taken place when Shukla headed the Maharashtra intelligence department.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had cited a letter purportedly written by Shukla to the then Director General of Police about alleged corruption in police transfers. Her letter also had details of intercepted calls, leading to an uproar in the Shiv Sena-led ruling coalition, which alleged that Shukla had tapped phones without permission.
Before registration of the FIR, Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte had alleged in a report submitted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that it appeared that Shukla herself had leaked the confidential report (to Fadnavis).
In another development, Mumbai Police have completed the paperwork to dismiss Assistant Police Inspectors Sachin Vaze and Riyazuddin Kazi, who were arrested by the NIA in connection with the Antilia bomb scare and businessman Mansukh Hiran murder cases.