Phone tapping cases: Patole slams the BJP, others say “I don’t know why targeted”

A DAY after Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil claimed that the phones of four elected officials were tapped between 2015 and 2019 under the guise of drug traffickers, three of the four leaders were cautious in their criticism of the then BJP-Sena government between 2014-19 when the wiretapping took place.

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Speaking to the Indian Express, State Congress Unit Leader Nana Patole accused the then BJP regime in Maharashtra of the hate and blackmail policy. “Rashmi Shukla, (then Commissioner of the State Intelligence Department) who tapped these phones, had to get permission from the Director General of Police and then from the state government. The government has given its approval, but there is a limit of days for wiretapping and it cannot be done for a year. My name was mentioned as Amjad Khan instead of Nana Patole. How was it approved for the second time? ” he said.

Meanwhile Ashish Deshmukh, Sanjay Kakade and current Maharashtra Minister of State Bachchu Kadu, whose phones were also tapped, were reserved in their criticisms.

“Rashmi Shukla violated my rights as a citizen. What has been done is shameful and has no precedent in Maharashtra. The agents involved must be punished. I don’t think Devendra Fadnavis would have allowed my phone to be tapped as I am from his party and his friend,” Sanjay Kakade said.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Deshmukh said, “I really don’t know why my phone was tapped.” Even Kadu said, “I don’t know why they tapped my phone. I’ll file a complaint later.

Minister Walse-Patil had informed the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Monday that the mobile phones of four elected officials, three of whom belonged to the BJP at the time, were being monitored by Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla in 2017-2018, saying that these numbers were drug dealers.

The disclosure is part of an investigation which was carried out by the Maharashtra Police after Patole alleged in July last year that his phone, along with that of other political leaders, was tapped while in office. of the then BJP-led government.

Subsequently, the government in July 2021 set up a three-member panel headed by then Chief Police Officer Sanjay Pandey to investigate the alleged wiretapping.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Devendra Fadnavis has denied any role in the case. “The chief minister’s office or the interior minister have nothing to do with the wiretapping. Permission for this is granted by ACS Home… All of these permissions have been granted by ACS. In line with SC guidelines, these decisions cannot be made by the chief minister or the home secretary,” he said last week while defending himself.

(With contributions by Shubhangi Khapre)

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