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Home Ministry to probe Gujarat snooping row?

PTI | Last Updated: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 19:48

New Delhi/Mumbai: The Centre may order a probe into the alleged illegal surveillance and phone tapping of a woman in Gujarat in the wake of demand from certain quarters, including Congress.
The "snooping" on the woman architect, allegedly by the Gujarat Police at the behest Amit Shah, a close aide of BJP`s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, was apparently in violation of phone tapping rules as it was reportedly carried out without the mandatory permission from the Centre when the woman went out of the state.

Asked if Modi should face prosecution for misuse of state machinery, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Sunday said "inquiry will be conducted about all this and decision will be taken".

"Union and State Home secretaries have been authorised to take action on (illegal) snooping," he said in Mumbai.

Sources said the state Home Secretary is empowered to order phone tapping of a person within the state but when surveillance is carried out in multiple states, permission of Union Home Secretary is mandatory.

The Gujarat Police seems to have tapped the telephone of the woman when she was even in Maharashtra and Karnataka, besides Gujarat, without taking any authorisation from Union Home Secretary, the sources said.

The Gujarat government has already constituted an inquiry committee headed by a retired judge of the Gujarat High Court.

The Home Ministry order on probe into the controversial and highly publicised issue may come considering the fact that Congress has been demanding an independent investigation into the alleged illegal surveillance of the woman, the sources said.

Congress has been maintaining that the episode raised questions about the Gujarat Chief Minister`s disregard for law and intrusion into the privacy of the Bangalore-based architect whose family hails from Kutch.

The party questioned the use of state agencies like anti-terrorist squad and state intelligence to keep tabs on the woman.

First Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 19:48

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