Phone tap case: Questions asked to make me a co-defendant, Fadnavis claims
Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, whose testimony was recorded by Mumbai police in a case of alleged illegal phone tapping and leaking of confidential documents, claimed on Sunday the questions put to him were like wanting him to become a co-defendant in the matter do .
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Interior Minister Dilip Walse Patil told reporters that the police notice to Fadnavis had not been issued as a suspect and that the state government was not taking vindictive action against anyone.
After a BKC cyber police team recorded Fadnavis’ testimony for about two hours at his residence in south Mumbai, the former Maharashtra premier told media that the government of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) are unsuccessful in their motives will no matter how hard she tries to frame him on the case.
Fadnavis said he raised the issue of the mega-fraud in the transfer of civil servants under MVA supervision before the Union Home Secretary, but categorically denied making any details public.
He also claimed that pressure was being put on him as he had raised issues such as the alleged link between Minister of State Nawab Malik and fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and the MVA’s conspiracy to target its opponents.
Fadnavis accused the MVA government of suppressing the alleged mega-fraud involving civil servant transfers for six months before bringing it to light.
The opposition leader in the State Assembly said he had submitted details of the alleged fraud to the Union interior minister but had not released the documents in question.
Had I not exposed it, the mega scam worth crores would have been suppressed, Fadnavis claimed.
He said the BKC cyber police previously sent him a questionnaire related to the case of alleged phone tapping and confidential document leakage, and he replied that he would answer the same.
But there is a big difference between the questionnaire that was sent to me earlier and the questions I am being asked today. The questions asked today were as if I had just broken the Official Secrets Act…the questions were not asked the way a witness is asked. The questions were put to me as if to make me a defendant or co-defendant, Fadnavis claimed.
The BJP chief said he had given clear answers to questions put to him, adding that the Whistle Blowers’ Act should be made applicable to him in the case as he had only exposed the mega scam.
The documents he received were sensitive, contained the names of IPS officials and were therefore submitted to the Union’s Home Secretary, who is the competent authority, he said.
I have not made the details public. But if secrecy was breached, who did it? Nawab Malik did, he shared the same with journalists. He should be examined, Fadnavis demanded.
He went on to say that no matter how hard the state government tries to implicate him in the case, they will not enforce their motive.
I will continue to dig up the black scams. As a very responsible citizen, I sent the information to the competent authority without relying on publicity and without making it public.
Therefore, I think that the state government will not achieve anything by recording statements or investigating me, he added.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Home Secretary Dilip Walse Patil said notices were issued to Fadnavis five to six times asking him to record his statement.
There is no need to get loud and cry. The notification does not constitute a subpoena, the notification was not sent to him as a defendant. The notification was sent to record the information he had in relation to the matter, the minister said when asked about the BJP’s protest at the police notification to Fadnavis.
Walse Patil also said earlier that Fadnavis was not called to the police station, only a questionnaire was sent to him in connection with the case.
A questionnaire was also sent to him on 2 March. But for some reason no information was received from him. Therefore, the police decided to record his statement when he went to his home. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, the NCP leader said.
The minister said the case was almost a year old and the investigation into the matter could not be closed in the absence of Fadnavis’ testimony.
He was therefore asked to record his statement, he said.
The case has been registered against five unidentified people and testimonies from 24 people have been taken so far, the minister said.
IPS officer Rashmi Shukla is accused of illegally tapping the phones of political leaders and senior officials as head of the State Intelligence Department (SID). Former Maharashtra Prime Minister Fadnavis had cited a letter she allegedly wrote to the then Chief of Police of Maharashtra about alleged corruption in transfers in the Police Department.
The letter also included details of tapped phone calls, prompting an uproar among leaders of the Shiv Sena-led ruling coalition, who claimed Shukla tapped phones without permission.
Following a complaint filed by the SID, a case against unidentified individuals for allegedly illegal tapping of phones and disclosure of confidential documents under the Official Secrets Act was registered at the BKC Cyber Police Station in Mumbai last year.
Before the FIR was registered, then Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Sitaram Kunte had claimed in his investigation report that Shukla had leaked the confidential report.
(Only the headline and image of this report may have been edited by the staff at Business Standard; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)