IPS officer Shukla tried to induce MLAs to back BJP, alleges another Maha minister

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Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Hasan Mushrif on Friday accused IPS officer Rashmi Shukla of making offers 'worth crores' to independent MLAs to induce them to support the BJP after the 2019 Assembly polls.

While Mushrif sought a probe against Shukla, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut also made a similar allegation and asked why the state government had been lenient towards such officials.

Mushrif, Rural Development Minister in the Sena-NCP- Congress government, alleged that Shukla was in touch with independent MLAs from October 24, 2019 when the poll results were announced, to November 24, 2019, days before the Sena-led MVA government was formed.

Another NCP minister Jitendra Awhad and independent MLA and minister Rajendra Patil-Yadravkar had earlier accused Shukla, who is at the centre of a phone-tapping controversy, of contacting MLAs on behalf of the BJP after elections.

The IPS officer has not offered any comment on the allegations yet.

The BJP, which had fallen out with ally Sena, did not have enough numbers to form government after the polls.

'Minister of State for Public Health Rajendra Patil- Yadravkar had received such a call....Shukla was making offers worth crores to independent MLAs for supporting the BJP. She was trying to see that BJP retained power,' Mushrif told reporters.

A senior IPS officer being involved in such things was a very serious matter, he said.

'Hence, I request the chief minister that besides the phone tapping issue, these phone calls to independent MLAs should be probed too and strict action should be taken against her after checking her call detail records,' the NCP leader said.

Earlier this week, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis cited a letter written by Shukla, then commissioner of State Intelligence, to the then Director General of Police about alleged corruption in police transfers with details of some intercepted calls.

Mushrif termed Fadnavis' allegations as 'hollow'.

'Fadnavis should apologise to people for defaming Maharashtra. I suspect that this is being done to divert the direction of the ongoing probe into the bomb scare outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran,' the NCP leader said.

The BJP leader should forget his 'dream' of coming back to power as the MVA coalition was strong, he said.

Speaking to the media earlier in the day, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut too alleged that Shukla had tried to pressurise independent MLAs and those from smaller parties into supporting the BJP after the 2019 polls.

It was surprising that she continued in her post for five to six months after the Uddhav Thackeray government was formed, he said.

'We came across such three-four officials. (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar also noted this. It was Pawar's view too that such officials should not be kept close,' Raut added.

Had action been taken against Shukla in time, Fadnavis would not have got the chance to make allegations about `corruption' in police transfers, he said.

Raut also claimed that his and Pawar's phones too were being tapped when the Shiv Sena and NCP were in the process of forming government.

He knows that 'the Centre taps phones of all', the Rajya Sabha member said.

'Those in the state government should realize the seriousness of the issue and think how long they will rely on such officials,' he added.

Following Fandnavis' allegations, chief minister Thackeray had asked chief secretary Sitaram Kunte to submit a report. Kunte, in his report, alleged that it was Shukla herself who appeared to have leaked her letter. PTI ENM KRK KRK