MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the city police to clarify if they intend to name senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla as an accused in a case of illegal phone tapping and alleged leaking of confidential documents related to police transfers and postings in Maharashtra.
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal asked the police to also inform the court by October 25 about the progress made in the investigation, while noting that the FIR in the case was lodged in March this year.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Shukla, seeking to quash the FIR and also that the probe into the case to be transferred to the CBI, which is already conducting an investigation against Maharashtra’s former home minister Anil Deshmukh.
Shukla’s counsel Mahesh Jethmalani pointed out to the court the affidavit filed by the police in the plea in which they have stated that Shukla has not been named as an accused in the FIR.
Senior counsel Darius Khambata told the HC that the petitioner has not been named as an accused yet, but the probe is on to ascertain who was responsible for the leaking of sensitive government documents.
The bench then said if Shukla has not been named as an accused and if the police do not intend to name her, then the court should not waste its time hearing the petition.
“If she (Shukla) is not going to be named as an accused, then why should we hear this petition? We are only on (the point of) not wasting judicial time,” the bench said.
“You (police) clarify whether or not she is going to be named as an accused. Then, as and when she is named as an accused, she can move the court again,” the HC said.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on October 25. Shukla in her petition alleged that she was being made a scapegoat and targeted by the Maharashtra government for submitting a report on alleged corruption in police transfers and postings.
The plea further said the State Intelligence Department (SID), which she was heading at that time, had taken the required permissions from the state government’s additional chief secretary prior to the surveillance.
Shukla is currently serving as the additional director general of the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) South Zone and is posted in Hyderabad.
In her plea, Shukla said she had exposed the alleged nexus between ministers and politicians and other gross corruption involved in assigning postings to police officers.
The FIR was registered at the BKC Cyber police station in Mumbai against unidentified persons for allegedly tapping phones illegally and leaking certain confidential documents and information. The alleged phone tapping had taken place last year when Shukla headed the SID.