Pune police close case against IPS officer Rashmi Shukla

The police on Wednesday filed a closure report in a criminal case against senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla in which she was accused of tapping the phone of state Congress chief Nana Patole, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said.

The police filed a c-summary report which was accepted by the court, Gupta said. A c-summary case has been registered “by mistake” or a complaint is found to be of civil in nature.

The case was lodged at Bund Garden police station on February 25 under section 26 (unlawful interception of messages) of the Indian Telegraph Act for allegedly illegally tapping Patole’s phone during the tenure of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government. The First Information Report (FIR) also stated that the phones of MLA Bacchu Kadu, former BJP MP Sanjay Kakade and former MLA Ashish Deshmukh were also tapped for a period of two months.

Shukla, a 1998 batch IPS officer is on central deputation as additional director general of CRPF in Hyderabad. After serving as Pune’s police commissioner, she was transferred to Mumbai in July 2018 and headed the Maharashtra State Intelligence Department (SID).

Last year, Patole had alleged that his phone was tapped in 2016-2017 on the pretext that it belonged to someone involved in “narcotics smuggling”. He also alleged that the phones of other elected representatives and their aides were tapped.

A three-member committee headed by then director general of police Sanjay Pandey was formed to conduct an inquiry into these phone-tapping incidents that allegedly took place between 2015 and 2019. The police relied on this report and stated in its FIR that Shukla allegedly tapped the phones of the Congress leader, and others, while she served as commissioner, between 2016 and 2018.

Shukla, however, moved the Bombay high court in July, stating that the FIR was arbitrary, and lodged on account of “political vendetta”. She also received protection from the HC from arrest in this case.

Shukla also has three other cases registered against her on charges of illegal phone-tapping.

The first was filed against unknown persons at Cyber Crime police station in Mumbai in March 2021, after BJP leader Devendra Fadanvis, then Leader of Opposition, claimed that Shukla had filed a report on alleged corruption in transfers and postings of senior police officers in Maharashtra. He claimed that Shukla, in then SID commissioner, had prepared the report on the basis of tapped mobile phone conversations of some politically well-connected persons, who purportedly ran a racket ensuring plum postings for police officers who paid bribes to the then home minister Anil Deshmukh and one “Dada.” The issue became a political hot-potato, and the then CM, Uddhav Thackeray asked former chief secretary Sitaram Kunte to investigate the matter. In his report, Kunte stated that Shukla had misused the machinery for illegal phone tapping and leaked an official report.

The third FIR against her is registered at Colaba police station on March 2022 based on complaint lodged by Additional Commissioner of Police (Special Branch) Rajiv Jain. In his case, Shukla is accused of tapping phones of Shiv Sena leader and Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut and NCP leader Eknath Khadse, when she headed the State Intelligence Department.

The Bombay HC has granted Shukla protection from arrest in all three cases.

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