Maharashtra phone-tapping row: IPS officer Rashmi Shukla summoned by cyber cops
Mumbai cyber police have summoned Rashmi Shukla, a senior Indian Police Service officer of Maharashtra cadre, in connection with the illegal phone tapping and confidential report leak matter.
Shukla, who is presently on a central deputation and posted in Hyderabad, has been asked to appear before assistant commissioner of police (Cyber) Nitin Jadhav at 11am on Wednesday, April 28, to record her statement.
On March 26, the cyber police station had registered a case on the complaint of the State Intelligence Department (SID) against unknown persons for leaking a report submitted by Shukla in August 2020, then commissioner of intelligence, over purported payments for transfers within the police department.
The complaint stated that some unknown person had obtained the classified report and information from the department, following which the police registered a First Information Report under Section 30 (fraudulently retaining a message delivered by mistake) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, Sections 44(b) (failure to furnish information in time) and 66 (computer related offence) of the Information Technology Act, 2008 and Section 5 (wrongful communication of information) of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
Home department officials said that the copy that was reportedly leaked was the SID’s office copy and did not bear Shukla’s signature on it.
Earlier, state chief secretary Sitaram Kunte had submitted a report to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, detailing the circumstances in which Shukla created the report. His report said that Shukla intercepted calls of six persons in the name of “public safety” and thus “misguided the authorities”. It said that no transfers of police officials took place between June 27 and September 1, 2020, the period in which the calls were intercepted.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis has claimed that Shukla “sought proper permissions from then additional chief secretary (home) and intercepted phone calls of several police officials and politicians.”
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He also said that he had a pen drive with 6.3GB of data from the intercepted calls, which contained the voices of police officers and politicians closely related to the home minister and home department.
Kunte’s report, however, pointed out that no pen drive was attached to Shukla’s report. It further raised doubts on whether the IPS officer had leaked the report and if that was so, she would be liable for “strict action”.
“The leak of the report had led to breach of privacy of the officers whose names have been mentioned in the report. It has also led to their defamation. The so-called deals for the transfers mentioned in the report and actual transfers done by the government differ. This proves that there was no question of any scam in the transfers,” Kunte’s report stated.
Meanwhile, Shukla’s report named senior politicians, middlemen and police officers, who allegedly sought transfers and postings of their liking. While the report did not state that any direct transfer of money to these politicians took place, it did refer to “monetary exchange” between police officers and middlemen acting in close connection with politicians.
Shukla did not respond to HT’s phone calls and text messages.