Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte’s report on alleged phone tapping has led to a war of words between the Maha Vikas Aghadi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis alleged that the report was written by Ministers Nawab Malik and Jitendra Awhad and it was later signed by Kunte.
However, Awhad slammed Fadnavis for raising doubt about Kunte’s integrity, experience and administrative capability. He said, after demoralising the police force, Fadnavis is now targeting the bureaucracy, which is a dangerous trend.
On the other hand, Malik said Fadnavis has landed in trouble after an offence has been registered with the Economic Offence Wing for the leakage of a secret letter of the additional director general of police (intelligence) on the alleged phone tapping. He claimed that Fadnavis has discredited the Maharashtra Police and also refuted Fadnavis’ charge that Awhad and he had written the report.
Kunte, in his five-page report, had said, "Despite stamping the letter as TOP SECRET, the former additional director general of police (intelligence) Rashmi Shukla seems to have leaked the letter, which is a very serious matter. If it is proved, she will be liable for the strictest action against her.” Kunte was asked to submit a report on the alleged police transfer racket following the allegations levelled by Fadnavis that the state government suppressed Shukla’s report based on the phone tapping in this regard.
Fadnavis, on the leaking of the ‘top secret’ report, said, "I had only shared a two-page letter (related to Rashmi Shukla's letter), whereas it was state minister Nawab Malik who leaked some of its pages. I was even contacted by some journalists after they received the report from Nawab Malik." If any action has to be taken, it should be against Malik, he added. "I think state ministers Nawab Malik or Jitendra Awhad had prepared the report and chief secretary Sitaram Kunte must have signed it. I have enough proof with me. If there is a legal action, then I will produce it before the court," he claimed.
Fadnavis alleged that Kunte’s report over the phone tapping charges was full of fallacies. “’The Indian Telegraph Act quoted in the report is presented to the public in a manner convenient to the government. The report in itself is full of fallacies. Although there are sufficient provisions to tap the phone calls, the government is not ready to accept it,” he said.