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Monday, April 12, 2021

Rashmi Shukla case: IPS officer pressured MLA to align with BJP, says minister

A letter sent by Shukla last August to the then DGP Subodh Jaiswal has set off a political row in the state.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: March 26, 2021 5:41:37 am
Rashmi Shukla newsShukla in her letter, whose details were revealed by Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis in a press conference, had stated that her personnel had intercepted communications of several persons allegedly engaged in postings of senior police officers in exchange for money(file)

Continuing its attack on former Commissioner of State Intelligence Rashmi Shukla, the NCP on Thursday alleged that Shukla had forced Rajendra Patil Yadravkar — an Independent MLA from Shirol in Kolhapur district who is now a Minister of State for Public Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government — to not join hands with the MVA and align himself with the BJP instead.

“Rajendra Yedravkar, independent MLA from Shirol {Kolhapur} was forced by Rashmi Shukla to oppose MVA and be with BJP was it her job… under wat authority did she act,” NCP leader and Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad tweeted.

Later in the day, Awhad said he had made the claims based on his conversations with Yadravkar.

“I spoke to Yadravkar. He told me about this. An ACP-level officer, Sanjay Patil, was sent to tail him. Rashmi Shukla had called him and said ‘agar mere saath chai piyoge to kya namak halali namak harami ho jayegi? There was tremendous pressure on him and even money was offered to him. I don’t know why Shukla did this,” Awhad said.

He did not reveal the timing of the conversation but indicated that it had occurred in the run-up to the formation of the MVA government and that Shukla had asked Yadravkar to align with the BJP.

“Her pressuring of Yadravkar, the phone tapping and her letter point to who she was really working for,” Awhad said, reiterating the allegation that she was acting as an “agent of the BJP”.

When asked about the claims made by Awhad, Yadravkar said, “It is true that I was asked to support the BJP-led alliance. But I had told them that I would take a decision after holding discussions with people from my constituency. Then I decided to support Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA.”

He added, “I am not sure who had asked her to approach me.”

Shukla did not respond to calls.

A letter sent by Shukla last August to the then DGP Subodh Jaiswal has set off a political row in the state. Shukla in her letter, whose details were revealed by Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis in a press conference, had stated that her personnel had intercepted communications of several persons allegedly engaged in postings of senior police officers in exchange for money.

The letter also contains a purported summary of conversations among these persons in which they are heard dropping names of political leaders including minister Anil Deshmukh, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

After the emergence of the letter, MVA leaders attacked Shukla, questioned her conduct, said she had indulged in phone tapping without requisite clearances from the state administration and was involved in a plot to discredit the MVA government. The NCP also said it feared that Shukla may have illegally tapped the phones of several ministers in the MVA government.

“Her actions are in complete violation of the Official Secrets Act,” Awhad said.

He also said the government had erred in not taking action against Shukla, who got away by issuing an apology to MVA leaders.

“We erred in not being able to identify the loyalties of certain officers. We were big-hearted and it was our mistake that we did not take action against her. She had profusely apologised to the CM, chief secretary, home minister and had even met Ajit Pawar. She had also requested that the letter be given back to her. We took a humanitarian approach and did not realise that this was all part of a conspiracy against us,” Awhad said.

Yadravkar is a first-time MLA. His father had unsuccessfully contested on an NCP ticket twice. Yadravkar was denied a ticket by the NCP and contested as an independent candidate, defeating his rival from the Sena by over 27,000 votes. He was subsequently made a minister under the Shiv Sena’s quota in the MVA government.

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