Rashmi Shukla, a 1989-batch IPS officer, is the Director General (DG) of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and one of the senior cops strategically sidelined by Maha Vikas Aghadi.
Everyone expected that the BJP’s return to power might give her a grand comeback to the state police. When the central government announced her appointment to the armed forces to guard the border between Nepal and Bhutan last Thursday, many saw it as a setback, albeit a temporary one, for the officer who was once thought to be a shoo-in for the job of Mumbai Police Commissioner.
Within a few months, there was a widespread belief that officers who suffered during the MVA administration due to their perceived proximity to Fadnavis would be “compensated.” Soon there was a strong buzz that Shukla was being brought back from central deputation and would be “rewarded” with the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner.
Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is now the deputy Chief Minister, backed Shukla. Several of these officers were deputed to the central government, including Shukla, who was appointed as the Additional Director General (ADG) of the CRPF in February 2021. However, in Shukla’s case, in addition to being transferred by the MVA from the State Intelligence Department (SID) to Civil Defense—a non-executive position—there were two FIRs. The FIRs, one in Mumbai and the other in Pune, were filed on charges of illegal phone tapping of opposition leaders during the CM tenure of Fadnavis.
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse, and Congress chief Nana Patole are among the leaders whose phones are said to have been tapped. After the Uddhav Thackeray-led government departed in June, the fortunes of Shukla and the other IPS officers sidelined by the MVA appeared to have improved.
What further boosted the rumors is that in October, the Pune Police filed a closure report in a local court in one of the FIRs. Later that month, the state government denied Mumbai Police permission to file a chargesheet against Shukla in the phone-tapping case. With the accusations seemingly out of the way, it appeared that Shukla getting some important posts in the state was on the cards. Weeks passed by, but nothing happened, even as some of the other sidelined officers were brought back to important postings.
Eventually, in a blow to the officer in December, a Pune court rejected the police’s closure report in the FIR against her and instead asked the police to further investigate the matter. Many believed that the court order sealed Shukla’s fate in terms of her being returned from central deputation to the city in the near future, because it would be bad optics for the government to appoint someone facing an FIR to an important position. Recently, after Shukla and two other officers from the Maharashtra cadre were promoted to Director General, Shukla was posted with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).