The Maharashtra government on Saturday opposed a petition filed with the Bombay High Court by senior officials, saying the “leaking of secret information with the police” was “a matter of serious concern”. IPS Officer Rashmi Shukla seeking to overturn the case of “illegal” wiretapping recorded by the Cybercrime Department of the Mumbai Police.
The state government attorney questioned the viability of the plea because Shukla’s name was not mentioned in the FIR which brought charges of data theft and leaking “top secret” information against “people”. unknown ”.
Appearing for Shukla, senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said the government of Maharashtra was trying to trick the court into make Shukla a scapegoat in the case while protecting Chief Secretary of State Sitaram Kunte, who had authorized wiretapping as additional chief secretary of state at the time.
“It (FIR) is to crack down on the crime of corruption in transfers and police assignments by protecting criminals. There is a serious attempt to avoid judicial review and CBI or ED of these documents. The state is complicit in the subversion of justice and Kunte is the government’s alter ego. We are not seeking any redress against him, but it shows the bad faith of the FIR, ”he said.
A division bench of Judges SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar heard Shukla’s plea against FIR filed in March at the BKC cyber police station under the Official Secrets Act of 1923, against unidentified people for allegedly putting tapped phones and leaked some confidential documents, over a complaint filed by the State Intelligence Department (SID).
Senior lawyer Darius Khambata, representing the state government, strongly objected to Jethmalani’s comments and said Shukla’s lawyer was trying to overturn the law by making comments “bordering on abuses against the law. state government ”. He denied that the charges in the FIR were “reckless and frivolous”.
“This petition seeks to quash the FIR which concerns theft and data leakage. This is not whether the interceptions were unauthorized and does not speak of alleged corruption in police assignments. It’s not even about the CBI’s investigation into transfers and assignments, ”Khambata said.
“Shukla’s report is certainly top secret because she also marked it in the same way. The FIR says the documents were leaked and have fallen into the public domain. It is as important as alleged corruption in transfers to find out how confidential police information is disclosed, ”he added.
The alleged wiretapping took place when Shukla was leading the SID. She is currently stationed in Hyderabad as the Additional General Manager of the Southern Zone of the CRPF.
BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis previously cited a letter allegedly written by Shukla to the then DGP about alleged corruption in police transfers. The letter contained details of the intercepted calls, which sparked an uproar among leaders of the ruling coalition led by Shiv Sena, alleging that Shukla had tapped phones without permission.
“When someone knows that there is nothing in the petition, he takes you on a ‘Bharat Yatra’, uses all of these mantras and tries to suggest that the petitioner’s case is the basis for such allegations. The majority of the allegations do not concern the FIR, ”Khambata said.
State Counsel further feared that, as the State Government did not file an affidavit in response to the plea, it could not be presumed that the Applicant’s allegations would be deemed admitted.
The court then sent a notice to the respondents and allowed the state government two weeks to file its affidavit opposing the plea, and asked the applicant to file a reply thereafter.
The court postponed the hearing on Shukla’s plea to September 13 after the state assured her that no coercive action, including an arrest, would be taken against her until September 14.