Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, whose statement was recorded by Mumbai police in a case of alleged illegal phone tapping and leaking of confidential documents, on Sunday claimed the kind of questions asked to him were as if to make him a co-accused in the matter.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil told reporters that the police notice was issued to Fadnavis “not as an accused” and that state government does not act in a vindictive manner against anyone.
After a team of the BKC cyber police recorded Fadnavis’s statement for about two hours at his south Mumbai residence, the former Maharashtra chief minister told media persons that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government will not succeed in its motives no matter how much it tries to “frame” him in the case.
Fadnavis said he had raised the issue of “mega scam” in transfers of officials on the MVA’s watch before the Union home affairs secretary, but categorically denied having leaked any detail concerned in public domain.
He also alleged that pressure is being exerted on him as he has been raising issues such as the alleged connection between state minister 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 scam of transfers of officials for six months before he brought it to the light.
The leader of opposition in the state Assembly said he had submitted details of the alleged scam to Union home secretary, but did not make the documents concerned public.
“Had I not exposed it, the mega scam worth crores would have got suppressed,” Fadnavis claimed.
He said the BKC cyber police had earlier sent him a questionnaire in connection with the case of alleged phone tapping and leaking of confidential documents and he he had responded saying he would answer the same.
“But, there is a big difference between the questionnaire sent to me earlier and the questions asked to me today. The questions asked today were as if I only violated the Official Secrets Act…the questions were not asked in the manner it is asked to a witness. The questions were asked to me as if to make me an accused or co-accused,” Fadnavis claimed.
The BJP leader said he gave clear answers to the questions posed to him, and added that the Whistle Blowers’ Act should be made applicable to him in the case since he only has brought out the “mega scam”.
The documents he received were “sensitive”, contained the names of IPS officers and hence, the same were submitted to the Union home affairs secretary, who is the competent authority, he said.
“I did not bring the details in public.But if the secrecy was violated, who did it then? Nawab Malik did, he shared the same with journalists. He should be probed,” Fadnavis demanded.
He further said that no matter how much the state government tries to frame him in the case, it will not succeed in its motive.
“I will keep digging up the black scams.I, as a very responsible citizen, sent the information to the competent authority without going after publicity and without bringing it into the public domain.
“Hence, I think the state government won’t achieve anything by recording statements or probing me,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil said that notices were issued to Fadnavis “five to six” times requesting him to record his statement.
“There is no need to raise a hue and cry. The notice doesn’t mean summons.the notice was not sent to him as an accused.The notice was sent to record the information he had in connection with the issue,” the minister said, when asked about the BJP’s protest against the police notice to Fadnavis.
Walse Patil said earlier also, Fadnavis was not called to the police station, but only a questionnaire was sent to him in connection with the case.
“On March 2 also, a questionnaire was sent to him. But, due to some reasons, information was not received from him. Hence, the police decided to record his statement going to his home. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it,” the NCP leader said.
The minister said the case is almost a year-old and the probe into the matter could not be completed for want of Fadnavis’s statement.
“Hence, a request was made to him to record his statement,” he said.
The case was registered against five unidentified persons and statements of 24 people have been recorded till now, the minister said.
IPS officer Rashmi Shukla is accused of tapping phones of political leaders and senior officials illegally when she was chief of the State Intelligence Department (SID). Former Maharashtra chief minister Fadnavis had cited a letter purportedly written by her to the then Maharashtra Director General of Police about alleged corruption in transfers in the police department.
The letter also had details of intercepted phone calls, leading to an uproar with leaders of the Shiv Sena-led ruling coalition alleging that Shukla tapped phones without permission.
Following a complaint lodged by the SID, a case was registered under the Official Secrets Act at the BKC cyber police station in Mumbai last year against unidentified persons for allegedly illegally tapping phones and leaking confidential documents.
Before the FIR was registered, the then Maharashtra chief secretary Sitaram Kunte had alleged in his inquiry report that Shukla had leaked the confidential report.