IPS agent Rashmi Shukla, named in the Maharashtra State Department of Intelligence (SID) wiretapping case, told the Bombay High Court on Friday that she had become a scapegoat by the government of Maharashtra while the Chief Secretary of State, Sitaram Kunte, protection.
Rashmi Shukla’s attorney, attorney Mahesh Jethmalani, said it was Sitaram Kunte who authorized the wiretapping and that he could now “not absolve himself” by blaming the “upright officer “.
An FIR was filed at the BKC Cyber â€‹â€‹Police Station in Mumbai under the Official Secrets Act against unidentified persons for allegedly bugging phones and leaking certain confidential documents. Rashmi Shukla’s statement was recorded by the Hyderabad Cyber â€‹â€‹Police where she is currently assigned as Additional Director General, South Zone, CRPF.
When summoned by the police, Rashmi Shukla applied to the Bombay High Court to protect herself from any coercive action. The alleged wiretapping took place when Rashmi Shukla was head of the Maharashtra State Intelligence Department (SID) and Sitaram Kunte was the additional chief secretary of Maharashtra.
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The BJP’s allegations
BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis had cited a letter, allegedly written by Rashmi Shukla to the then chief police officer, about alleged corruption in police transfers. The letter also contained details of the intercepted calls, which sparked an uproar with leaders of the ruling coalition led by Shiv Sena, alleging that Rashmi Shukla had tapped phones without permission.
Prior to the registration of the FIR in March this year, Sitaram Kunte alleged in a report submitted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that it appeared that Rashmi Shukla herself had leaked the confidential report.
At Friday’s hearing before the chamber of Judges SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar, Mahesh Jethmalani reiterated that an “arbitrary” case had been brought by the state to “crack down on crime and not to investigate and prosecute offenders” who engaged in acts of corruption. police assignment practices and requested that the case be transferred to the CBI.
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Rashmi Shukla’s argument
Mahesh Jethmalani said then Maharashtra’s Chief Police Officer (DGP) Subodh Jaiswal instructed Rashmi Shukla to carry out surveillance and that she was only following his instructions and obtained permission required from Sitaram Kunte in accordance with Indian Telegraph Act.
Rashmi Shukla’s lawyer argued, â€œMy client has become a scapegoat for the alleged leak (of confidential documents). The only reason behind filing this FIR is to prevent the documents from going to the CBI. You (Sitaram Kunte) have authorized the interceptions, so why are you making a problem about it now? After Shukla was stripped of her post, more than 150 police officers were transferred and nine people were given the posts they had negotiated.
He added: “There should be a limit to the arrogance of the state. There is a ministerial investigation. My client is ready to take a lie detector test on what really happened, and in the hope that others who have brought the charges against her should also do the same. “
Mahesh Jethmalani further questioned, â€œWhat were you (SItaram Kunte) doing when you repeatedly sanctioned all interceptions? Can’t Sitaram Kunte deny his interests and make my client a scapegoat, as hard as he can try, does he mind while sanctioning wiretapping? “
He added: â€œWhat hurts the state is that someone from the opposition (Fadnavis) got the transcripts and released them. You were the final decision-making authority. intercepted transcripts are not worth the trouble, so why the witch hunt? “
Mumbai Police Response
Appearing for Mumbai Police, attorney Darius Khambata said the FIR against Rashmi Shukla was about data theft and leakage. He argued that the documents were admittedly confidential and that “the leaking of such documents which eventually found their way into the public domain was a serious crime which needed to be investigated”.
Darius Khambata said that even though the FIR was against unknown people, the observations made by Rashmi Shukla in court appeared to be confessions because she was named in the FIR.
When lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani argued that the government of Maharashtra had filed the FIR against Rashmi Shukla only to make him a scapegoat in the illegal wiretapping case, Darius Khambata called the allegations “frivolous”. He argued that the FIR did not concern itself with corruption in the transfer and assignments of police in Maharashtra, or what Kunte allegedly said in response to Shukla’s report.
Darius Khambata said the FIR was against the leaking of extremely confidential documents, “which was as serious an offense as accusations of corruption in police stations,” Khambata stressed while adding that “the FIR does not even name it. not (Shukla) “.
During the hearing, Darius Khambata also pointed out that the long arguments about the Malafids had been put forward even before the opinion was published in the plea. Judges SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar immediately noted that since all the respondents were present and it was understood that the motions would finally be heard, no formal notice had been given.
Darius Khambata said he was raising the possibility of upholding the plea filed by Shukla in the Bombay High Court. Khambata argued that he had no objection to the petition eventually being heard, but that he did not want there to be an assumption that the allegations made in the petition had been admitted since he did not there was no written opposition to the same.
The court adjourned the hearing on Rashmi Shukla’s plea to Saturday, August 20, after the state assured the judiciary that no coercive action, including an arrest, would be taken against her until then.
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