June 3, 2021 8:29:30 pm
THE MUMBAI Police investigation into the data leak of sensitive information related to postings of senior IPS officers is now focussed on tracking down a missing pen drive which is believed to have been used to transfer the data.
Purported call recordings of alleged lobbying by some IPS officers in Maharashtra with the then Home Minister Anil Deshmukh were made available to Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis earlier this year. An FIR was registered against unidentified persons to find out how the sensitive data got leaked from the cyber police station at BKC on March 26.
As part of their investigation, the Mumbai Police has so far recorded statements of some officers posted with the State Intelligence Department (SID) of the Maharashtra Police that has the mandate to carry out surveillance after getting necessary permission.
“During the investigation we found the sensitive information was copied on three pen drives at the SID office. While we have seized two pen drives, the third pen drive is missing. It is due to this missing pen drive that the data theft section was applied in the FIR,” a source said.
The police are also taking technical help to get more details about how and when the data was copied. The source said that it was going to be a long-drawn investigation that will have to establish how the data from the pen drives landed up in the hands of former CM and BJP leader Fadnavis. The police could record the statements of other senior IPS officers and politicians.
A police team from BKC cyber has recorded the statement of senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla, who is currently posted with CRPF in Hyderabad. Shukla was the SID Commissioner when the call recordings are believed to have been carried out.
Alleging that the call recordings indicated lobbying by IPS officers, Shukla had forwarded a report about the same to then DGP Subodh Jaiswal, who then provided these details to CM Uddhav Thackeray to apprise him of the situation last year.
Earlier this year, soon after IPS officer Param Bir Singh wrote a letter to CM Thackeray alleging Deshmukh indulged in corruption, Fadnavis too made the details about the calls recorded by Shukla public to bolster the allegations of corruption against Deshmukh. Eventually after the CBI registered an FIR against Deshmukh, he stepped down as home minister.
Later, an FIR was registered at BKC cyber police station after Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte alleged in his report to the CM that Shukla may have leaked her confidential report on alleged corruption in transfers in the Maharashtra police department to Fadnavis.
In the report, Kunte had mentioned that the officer had allegedly unauthorisedly tapped phones in 2020 and had later apologised for the same.
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