Rajat Sharma

Transfers, Postings in Police as Commerce: Uddhav’s image has been badly dented

AKb (1)Senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has made a sensational allegation against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government. On Tuesday, he alleged that the State Commissioner, Intelligence, had submitted a detailed report, based on phone tapping evidence, on the thriving ‘transfer posting’ racket to the Chief Minister, but the later forwarded it to the Home Minister, who in turn, shunted the Intelligence Commissioner.

Fadnavis later handed over a sealed envelope containing the phone tapping evidence on the ‘transfer posting racket’ to Union Home Secretary in Delhi. He alleged that deals were fixed in hotels by middlemen and transfer/postings of police officers from SHOs to DIGs were made. He said, middlemen used to take ‘contracts’ from IPS officers to give them nice postings.

Fadnavis alleged that Rashmi Shukla, Commissioner, Intelligence, had submitted the report to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray six months ago, but no action was taken. Instead, Rashmi Shukla was shunted out and her promotion was held up. “I have 6.3 GB data with me that includes call intercepts. The full transcripts were sent to the Chief Minister, who, instead of taking quick action, forwarded it to his Home Minister. Action was taken against Rashmi Shukla. She was the senior most officer for the post of DGP, but she was shunted to a practically non-existent post like DGP, Civil Defence”, Fadnavis alleged.

The most surprising part of the allegation made by Fadnavis is that all those officers who were named in the report submitted on August 25, 2020, for having paid bribes, got the postings that they had sought. “ Since the matter is very sensitive, and there are officers involved from the bottom to the top, the matter must be thoroughly probed by the CBI”, he added.

Fadnavis said, the then DGP had recommended a CID probe, but his suggestion was rejected. “Whom is the government trying to protect?”, he asked.

Since the matter related to Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, two NCP ministers, Nawab Malik and Jayant Patil, came forward on Tuesday and alleged that senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla was “a BJP agent”. Nawab Malik alleged that Rashmi Shukla was “illegally taping telephones of political leaders without seeking prior permission.. They (BJP) may have six hours or 6,000 hours of telephone intercepts. They should hand them over to the state police for investigation. Central agencies are busy trying to topple the state government.”

Cabinet minister Jayant Patil claimed that none of the officers named in the report had been given the posts that are being alleged in the telephone intercepts. Rashmi Shukla is a 1988 batch IPS officer. She was posted as Commissioner, Intelligence in the state intelligence department, during the Congress-NCP government, continued in that post during BJP rule in the state, and was also chief of Intelligence during Uddhav Thackeray’s rule. She has the experience of working with three different governments. So, it will be incorrect to say that she was given this post by the BJP, or she was a BJP mole. This allegation gives rise to more suspicions.

The core question is not who gave the evidences or how the evidences were collected. The main question is: Is it a fact that transfers and postings in Maharashtra police are being offered for sale? Are middlemen busy arranging postings of senior police officers? Were the deals cut while sitting in plush 5-star hotels? The telephone intercepts and other evidences points towards the answer ‘Yes’. The suspicion is doubly confirmed because NCP and Shiv Sena leaders are trying to obfuscate the real issue by levelling political allegations.

It is because of this Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday, that a ‘vasooli’ (extortion) government is now working in Maharashtra. Pointing towards chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s silence, Prasad said, “nobody knows who is running the government in Maharashtra, since there is utter confusion…The leader is sitting on his throne, but he has no authority. NCP leaders are saying the CM will decide, Shiv Sena leaders are saying it is for the NCP to react, and the Congress is looking at both the SS and NCP. This is a strange ‘aaghaadi’ (alliance) having no direction. What is this drama all about?”

Ravi Shankar Prasad is an experienced leader and he has his own method of speaking. But it is a fact that since the last four days, the image of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has been badly dented. He is one of the tallest leaders in politics and public life, having decades of administrative experience. I feel surprised how he is now trying to defend the indefensible.

I am also surprised at how the Shiv Sena and NCP are trying to defend themselves.

Firstly, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray defended the Antilia explosives case and Mansukh murder case suspect API Sachin Vaze in Assembly, he told the media why it is trying to portray Vaze as Osama bin Laden, but ultimately Vaze was found to be an ‘Osama bin Laden of Mumbai Police’.

Secondly, Sharad Pawar told media that Anil Deshmukh was in hospital and private quarantine during the period he was alleged to have told police officers to extort money from bar owners, then Deshmukh’s video of addressing a press conference after coming out of hospital surfaced, and then evidence of Deshmukh, supposed to be in quarantine, travelling with eight people in a plane from Nagpur to Mumbai became public.

Both these acts by Deshmukh were against Covid guidelines. Deshmukh never said whether he ever met Sachin Vaze or not. Pawar was misquoting dates citing Corona pandemic, and when the shunted police chief made the explosive allegation, it was said why Parambir Singh did not make this allegation before his transfer. Yet Pawar had to admit that Parambir had told him and the CM several months ago about the Rs.100 extortion demand made by Deshmukh.

Even if we accept the charge that Parambir Singh made the allegation only after he was shunted, there is no reply to the question: why Pawar or the CM did not take any action when they knew about it several months ago? And what about Rashmi Shukla? As chief of intelligence, she had submitted a detailed report to the CM in August last year, revealing how deals were being struck to give plum posts to police officers through middlemen. She had sent her report through proper channel. Why was no action taken?

Looking at all the facts and circumstantial evidences, one gets the impression that the Uddhav Thackeray government tried to defend the culprits. Honest police officers were shunted, those officers who revealed underhand dealings were labelled as ‘BJP agents’. The needle of suspension points towards both the Shiv Sena and NCP. Uddhav Thackeray government’s image has been dented and the people of Maharashtra are angry.

Get connected on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Comments are closed.