Former Maharashtra director general of police (DGP) Subodh Jaiswal drew chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s attention to large-scale corruption in police transfers and postings in the state in a face-to-face meeting last year, officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said on Tuesday, hours after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis alleged the existence of such a racket at a press briefing in Mumbai.
“The transfer-posting corruption issue was brought to the notice of the chief minister who appeared shocked and assured action,” said an official aware of the meeting between Thackeray and Jaiswal, who is now the director general of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
The officials said Jaiswal’s letter to additional secretary, home, in August 2020 also highlighted the issue, days before his meeting with the chief minister. “A report has been received from Commissioner SID (State Intelligence Department) on 25th August, 2020, with regards to transfer of police officers. It is a serious matter and necessitates action by the state government. Hence, it is recommended that this be brought to the notice of the Hon. chief minister, and immediate and comprehensive enquiry be ordered by state CID (crime) Pune to identify concerned individuals and take necessary legal action,” said Jaiswal’s letter, accessed by News18.
In his address to the press, Fadnavis, a former Maharashtra chief minister, alleged that the coalition government of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress did not act on the “incriminating” intelligence report containing audio intercepts proving corrupt practices in police transfers and postings.
He met the Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla in Delhi later in the day and handed over what he said was 6.3 GB of data pertaining to call recordings, as well as some documents on the alleged racket.
The Maharashtra government rejected the allegations and alleged a conspiracy against it.
Attached to Jaiswal’s letter was a communication from Rashmi Shukla, then commissioner, SID. News18 has seen the communication. It is addressed to Jaiswal and said specific information was received about a network of brokers with political connection who were influencing transfers and postings for money.
“It has been discovered that the aforementioned brokers are in close contact and embroiled in negotiations with several influential (people). The police officials ranging from inspectors to several high-ranking IPS (Indian Police Service) officers are in contact with these undesirable individuals,” Shukla said in the communication.
At his press briefing, Fadnavis alleged that Shukla, who is now the additional director general of the Central Reserve Police Force, was ignored for promotion in Maharashtra Police despite her good track record, adding that she was punished for exposing the racket.
The officials News18 spoke to said Jaiswal informed the chief minister that if this matter was not dealt with sternly, the government’s reputation will be at stake. “It was communicated…(that it) will bring disrepute to the government — an apprehension which has now proved correct,” the official quoted in the first instance said. The official added that action was never taken.
“At a police establishment board meeting in 2020, several names for postings and transfers came with political recommendation. Some of those names had been highlighted in the corruption inquiry, and hence did not get clearance. However, the final list, after political clearances, overturned the original recommendations of the board, and the tainted names were cleared,” another official aware of the matter told News18. This official added that Shukla had been recommended as the new DG, Operations, but the decision was overturned.
Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik, an NCP leader, rejected the allegations. “Rashmi Shukla was illegally tapping phones of state leaders. So she was given a side posting as a punishment. She has loyalty to the BJP. So she was called at the Centre,” he said.
“The BJP wants this government to go. So, it has been defaming the government…it is a conspiracy based on a false report,” he added.