Updated: May 6, 2021 7:17:04 pm
The Bombay High Court bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale on Thursday granted the Maharashtra government permission to send a team to Hyderabad to record the statement of senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla in connection with an FIR registered by Mumbai Police. The FIR relates to alleged leaking of sensitive documents related to police postings in Maharashtra.
The state also assured the court that they will not be arresting Rashmi Shukla till the next hearing. The HC further granted permission to the state government to video record the questioning of the IPS officer at Hyderabad.
Senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Shukla, expressed the apprehension of her arrest by the state and therefore sought interim protection.
Senior counsel Darius Khambatta, who represented the state government, informed the court that they would not be arresting Shukla before the next court date. Further, Khambatta informed that if it was not convenient for Shukla to come down to Mumbai to appear before the cyber police, they could send a police team to Hyderabad to record her statement under section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Jethmalani told the court that Shukla would cooperate in the investigation and had no objection to her statement being video recorded. He, however, challenged Khambatta’s stand that Shukla should not be accompanied by others while her statement was being recorded. Jethmalani said as per law her lawyer would be present.
A team from Mumbai Police is likely to go to Hyderabad in the coming week to record Shukla’s statement after giving her prior intimation. The HC posted the next hearing in the case for June 14.
After two summons had been issued to Shukla by Mumbai Police asking her to appear before them for her statement, the 1988-batch IPS officer had approached the Bombay HC. In her petition, she had alleged that the state government was trying to “arm-twist her by a bogus and frivolous case”.
An FIR was registered under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, at the BKC cyber police station against unidentified persons for allegedly tapping phones and leaking certain confidential documents on the complaint filed by the State Intelligence Department. The alleged tapping of phones had taken place when Shukla was commissioner of the Maharashtra intelligence department.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had cited a letter purportedly written by Shukla to the then director general of police about alleged corruption in police transfers and postings. The letter also had details of intercepted calls, leading to an uproar, with leaders of the Shiv Sena-led ruling coalition alleging that Shukla tapped phones without permission.
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