Rashmi Shukla is the former police commissioner of state intelligence, Maharashtra, and is presently posted in Hyderabad. (TOI file photo)
MUMBAI: Rashmi Shukla former police commissioner of state intelligence, Maharashtra, presently posted in Hyderabad, has filed a petition before the Bombay high court seeking quashing of FIR registered by the cyber crime police station, BKC, Mumbai against unknown persons, or to alternatively transfer its probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Denying committing any offence as alleged, she said the FIR discloses “malafides and is itself a conspiracy to suppress high crimes by power politicians and interested police officers.’’
As an interim relief she is seeking that the investigation be stayed and police be retrained from taking any coercive steps against her.
As commissioner (state intelligence) she said she had last year come across information of corrupt malpractices between politicians and police officers “over favourable postings and transfers”. She said “with permission of competent authority’’ telephones of certain politicians and police officers were kept under surveillance and on August 20, 2020 a detailed report was made.
She submitted the report on August 25 to the then Director general of police Subodh Jaiswal and sought necessary legal action. Her surveillance she said show “police officers from inspectors to several high ranking IPS officers were in contact with such undesirable brokers’’ and that the “evidence is highly incriminating and gravely implicates a number of individuals.”
She also said she had shown chief minister Uddhav Thackeray the “damaging call transcript and data” on August 11, 2020, and again on August 16 and he had “asked for certain details.” But she said former home minister Anil Deshmukh “did not grant her time’’ when she sought to brief him and later when he met her “brusquely” said the transfer was
“All of a sudden’’ on September 2, she was “illegally and arbitrarily transferred” to the post of DG (civic defence), she said. She added that the state created nine posts of DGs sans any approval from cabinet and home ministry. The transfer order was silent on character of duty assigned, showing the state’s “malafides’’ she said.
She is now additional director general of south zone, CRPF in Hyderabad.
On March 26, 2021, the state registered the FIR against unknown persons under section 30 of the Indian Telegraph Act (for retaining message delivered by mistake) and under section 66 of the Information Technology Act as well as under section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
A month later she was summoned to attend the BKC cyber crime police station and now apprehends arrest. The FIR alleged that some unknown person got hold of her “confidential report” and handed it to state opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis in an “illegal manner”.
Seeking urgent hearing for May 4, her lawyer wrote the “approach of the state is to arm-twist the petitioners by bogus and frivolous case.’’ She has “exposed the nexus between ministers and politicians and others…involved in assigning postings to police officers’’ revealing “her courage and integrity,’’ said the request for hearing before the bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale.
Her petition pointed out that the state advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had informed the HC during the hearing of PIL filed earlier by Param Bir Singh had said that the her report had been considered and the “file was closed’’ since” nothing of substance was found.’’
The IPS officer appointed in 1988 had been appointed as commission of state intelligence in October 2018. Her petition says that the DGP had taken cognizance of information received by its office against some individuals allegedly engaged in facilitating senior police transfers “by using purported political links’’.
It adds that since during preliminary investigation the DGP found no written documents since the “transactions between these brokers and politicians used to take place through telephone’’ and “thus noting no suitable alternative, the DGP directed to put such phone numbers of these brokers under surveillance to authenticate these charges and to understand the modus operandi.’’
Shukla said she “proceeded as asked and accordingly requested for technical surveillance of people involved in such activities from the home department.’’
The permission was “granted many times by the then Additional Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte from July 17, 2020 to July 29, 2020.’’ As the probe progressed more numbers were placed under surveillance, with permission, says the petition.