Chief Secretary report says cop led Maha govt for phone tapping
Mumbai, Mar 26: Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Sitaram Kunte in a report to the Chief Minister, said that high ranking police officers had misled the government to obtain phone surveillance to carry out a roving investigation against private individuals.
HIs report said that under the Indian Telegraph Act, permission is given for phone surveillance to monitor threats to national security and public order and thwart such threats on the.
This report comes following a letter written by former Commissioner of the State Intelligence Rashmi Shukla alleging that the unit had intercepted communications of several persons engaged in postings of senior police officers in exchange for money.
The seven page letter has a summary of conversations in which these persons are heard dropping names of Home Minister, Anil Deskhmukh, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray.
BJP leader, Devendra Fadnavis met with Union Home Secretary in Delhi and handed over a sealed envelope containing 6.3 GB of records relating to police transfers and posting deals.
Fadnavis said that it is evident that the state government is trying to protect someone. If needed we will go to court, he also said.
In the letter dated August 25 2020, Shukla states that she had received numerous complaints alleging that a network of brokers had emerged.
"In order to authenticate these charges, the phone number of the individuals involved in these dubious activities were placed under telephonic surveillance with due regard to the established process. The reason for surveillance was to curtail the commitment of criminal offense(s) and prevent the possible breach of trust. Consequently, upon review of the gathering data, it is clear that there is significant merit in these allegations," Indian Express reported while citing the letter.
The brokers are in close contact and embroiled in these negotiations with several influential police officers ranging from inspector to several big ranks. IPS officers are in contact with such undesirable individuals, the letter further stated.
The letter states that the conversations show these men dropping names of Dada, Pawar Saheb, Aditya Thackeray and Deshmukh.
Kunte's report says that Shukla had sought permission for phone tapping of some persons. Prima facie, it was found that she had deliberately misled and took permission and the provisions of the Act were misused for a different purpose than the original provisions.
The CM on receiving the report brought to the notice of the government on file. On this an order was received from the government to seek an explanation from Rashmi Shukla for misleading and tapping the phone, Kunte said. She also spoke about her family's grief, her husband's death from cancer and their children's education. Admitting that she had made a mistake, she requested permission to withdraw the report. However, no action was taken as there was no precedent of withdrawing the report submitted to the government. No further steps were taken in the proposed action from the point of view of empathy and courtesy," the report also said.
"A threat to public order is to act or plan to commit acts of terrorism or riots. However, on the basis of that permission, she tapped the phones of some of the private individuals whose conversations referred to the transfer of police officers. Based on that conversation, she submitted her report to the Director-General of Police," the report further added.