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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Explained: Who is Rashmi Shukla, the IPS officer summoned by Mumbai Police?

The Mumbai police on Monday issued summons to Rashmi Shukla, one of the seniormost IPS officers in Maharashtra to appear before the cyber police on Wednesday.

Written by Mohamed Thaver , Edited by Explained Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: May 5, 2021 10:51:31 am
Rashmi Shukla in 2018 (Express Photo: Pavan Khengre, File)

Rashmi Shukla, a 1988-batch IPS officer, is one of the seniormost IPS officers in Maharashtra police. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government views her as close to the BJP government and had transferred her from her post as State Intelligence Commissioner (SID) to Civil Defence, seen as a non-executive post last year. In February this year, Shukla went on central deputation as ADG Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and is currently posted in Hyderabad. Shukla has also served as the Pune Police Commissioner where she was known for starting initiatives like ‘buddy cop’.

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Why has Rashmi Shukla been summoned by the Mumbai Police?

In March this year, after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh wrote a letter alleging that former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh indulged in corruption. Soon, BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also shared 6.1 GB of phone records purportedly of officers lobbying with Deshmukh for postings with the Union Home Ministry. Certain confidential documents related to call interception were also leaked. Fadnavis said that these call intercepts were done by Shukla when she was the SID commissioner. The SID commissioner with proper permission has the right to intercept phone calls. However, these are strictly confidential. In this case, since the data was leaked to the Leader of Opposition, it was believed to be a breach of sensitive information by an officer. Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte was asked to conduct an enquiry in the matter.

What did Kunte’s enquiry conclude?

In the report, Kunte had mentioned that Shukla had taken the permission to record these calls under the guise of interception of the calls of a few people in the interest of public safety and had thus misguided the authorities… “In fact, the interception is done in case of the possibility of the threat to national security and anti-national activities under the Indian Telegram Act to avoid any such threats. The interception is not expected for the political differences, professional or family disputes. However, Shukla did use the permission for the purpose other than it meant for misleading the government and misusing the permission,” the report said.

What action did the government take on the basis of the report?

Based on Kunte’s report, the state CID gave a complaint to the Mumbai cyber police station where an FIR was registered on March 26 against unknown persons under Official Secrets Act, section 30 of the Indian Telegraph Act and section 43(B) of the Information Technology Act. It is in connection with this FIR that Shukla has been summoned on Wednesday by the Mumbai Police. Based on her questioning, the further course of action will be decided.

Anyone else can be summoned in this case?

Another senior IPS officer whose name was mentioned by Fadnavis when he made the allegations of lobbying for police postings public could also face summons. The Mumbai police can also summon Fadnavis to record his statement to get more clarity on how the confidential information of the state agency reached him.

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