February 27, 2022 9:48:03 pm
A day after Pune police registered an FIR against IPS officer Rashmi Shukla for allegedly tapping his phone in 2016, Maharashtra Congress Chief Nana Patole on Sunday said that former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s “role” in the case must be probed.
Patole said that even though an offence has been registered against Shukla in the case, it is necessary to get to the “root of the matter”.
“As per the directives by the Supreme Court, the Home Secretary’s permission is mandatory for tapping anyone’s phone. Rashmi Shukla would not have dared to indulge in illegal phone tapping without the blessings of a senior member of the government,” Patole said.
Alleging that Fadnavis, who was also the Home Minister in the previous government, was involved in the phone tapping, the senior Congress leader said the BJP leader’s role in the case should be investigated.
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Patole said that between 2017-18, during the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under Fadnavis in the state, phones of many ministers and leaders, including him, along with that of senior IAS and IPS officers were tapped.
“It was shown that we were involved in drug dealing and our phones were tapped. Fake Muslim identities were given to us. My name was Amjad Khan and Bacchu Kadu was given the name of Nizamuddin Babu Sheikh. I had also raised the issue of illegal phone tapping in the Assembly and demanded a high-level inquiry,” he added.
The Congress chief further said that it is a crime to keep a person under watch by tapping their phone, adding it is also a violation of individual freedom. “And in a similar manner, it has been revealed that the (PM Narendra) Modi government at the Centre has been spying on ministers, political leaders, judiciary and journalists using the Pegasus software. This too is a similar offence and we have demanded that an inquiry be conducted in this case too,” he added.
“Though a case has been registered against Rashmi Shukla, there are many unanswered questions like –to whom did she give the recordings of phone calls? What was the main motive behind tapping the phones? Who had ordered Rashmi Shukla to tap phones?” he asked.
Patole said the state government should expedite the probe into the phone tapping case, find out the “real mastermind” and take stern action against them.
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