In yet another scandal involving the Maharashtra state government and the police department, a top-secret State Intelligence report exposed a high level ‘transfer racket’ implicating senior political leaders, police officials and a network of agents. According to Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) Devendra Fadnavis who serves as the opposition leader in the Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly, the scandal was exposed by state Director General of Police (DGP) Subodh Jaiswal, to the Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray last year. However, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Government Sitaram Kunte’s 5 page report states that the transfers did not actually take place. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has also alleged that IPS Rashmi Shukla, the State Intelligence Commissioner, had illegally tapped the phones and a MVA minister even suggested that she is a BJP mole.
The opposition leader told the media that this illicit liaison has persisted for a while now. “Negotiations are being carried out directly with police officials on transfer postings.” Fadnavis said in a press conference. “I have 6.3 gigabytes of intercepted call data related to this police transfer racket…all this data has been sent to the Chief Minister,” he further said.
The classified intelligence report names several senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and even personnel as low as inspector rank. The report also mentions that the DGP’s office had received countless complaints claiming that an intricate network of transfer brokers had emerged and that suspected officials and agents were put under surveillance.
The intercepts revealed that these brokers were neck deep in negotiations with high-ranking IPS officers and that the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) was promptly notified of these developments last year. Rashmi Shukla submitted the report to DGP Jaiswal on 20 August 2020, who in turn notified Additional Chief Secretary, Home who allegedly in turn forwarded the report to the State Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh.
Mahadev Ingle was identified as the mastermind behind the racket and was placed under surveillance since July last year. Ingle’s intercepts revealed how entrenched he was with the state law enforcement machinery, with communications with police Inspectors to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank officers. He also received patronage from senior political leaders in the sate on the basis of which he negotiated the transfers. The report alleges that he brokered 29 such transfers and that 12 police officials received their transfers of choice. Ingle was not the only one named in the report.
Santosh alias Sagar Jagtap was another figure identified in the scam. The report claims he met with the Home Minister of State in order to facilitate the transfer of a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP). Subsequent to meeting leading state government officials, he is alleged to have informed the DCP that his name will be included in the transfer order. His intercept also revealed his ties to an Additional Director General (ADG) level officer. Other transfer brokers such as Devanand Bhoje and Nawaz Muneer were also mentioned in the report. No known action has been taken with regards to the report as of yet.
Transfers that did not actually take place
The transfers mentioned in Shukla’s letter, however, did not actually take place, and “there is no misdeed in transfers as well,” said the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Government Sitaram Kunte. Over Fadnavis’s claim of more data on a pen drive, Kunte says that there was no accompanying pen drive when Shukla sent her letter to the Maharashtra government. “Prima facie, it appears that the letter has been leaked by Shukla herself,” Kunte said.
As per the report, in 2020, except in a few cases, all transfers were done on the recommendation of the police establishment board.
Rashmi Shukla IPS in Dock for illegal phone tapping and leaking the secret report, a BJP Mole?
The Chief Secretary has submitted a report recommending strict action against on former Commissioner of State Intelligence Rashmi Shukla. Kunte was tasked to submit a report by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after Fadnavis claimed that the MVA suppressed Shukla’s letter or report, based on phone intercepts, on a transfer scam.
“Despite stamping the letter as TOP SECRET, Rashmi Shukla seems to have leaked the letter, which is a very serious matter…If it is proved, she will be liable for strictest action against her.. She had intercepted the phone calls and exposing these names also threatened the privacy of the officials ” states Kunte’s report, which was made public.
The Nationalist Congress Party leader Jitendra Awhad and State Housing Minister on Wednesday alleged that Shukla, then Commissioner of Intelligence, sought permission for intercepting the calls of certain persons, but actually the calls of some other persons were tapped.
On Thursday Awhad said that the former Commissioner of Intelligence Rashmi Shukla misused her powers to pressure an Independent MLA Rajendra Patil Yadravkar from Shirol (Kolhapur), who is the current Minister of State for Medical Education, Public Health and Family Welfare, to join the BJP instead of the MVA after the Assembly polls. Awhad also said a section of police officers have been working for the BJP and many of them are still working in the present government.
IPS Rashmi Shukla has tendered a written apology for the illegal tapping of the phone.
84 police officers transferred
The acting DGP Maharashtra Hemant Nagrale who took charge as Commissioner of Mumbai Police, has transferred 84 police officers in Mumbai Police, which includes 65 officers from the Crime Branch.