Mumbai: The phone tapping incident, which led to registration of cases against two Shiv Sena leaders for allegedly inciting violence during the recent Pune bandh, has come in for severe criticism from the Shiv Sena-BJP combine.
Leaders of the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP will call on Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayan to complain about the "misuse of power" by the state government by tapping telephones of elected representatives.
Deputy Leader of BJP in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde said as per rules, telephones of political leaders cannot be tapped. "The government is misusing its powers and we will
meet the Governor in this regard," he said.
"When Sena-BJP leaders had questioned Home Minister RR Patil on tapping of phones belonging to political leaders, he had stated on the floor of the Assembly that political
leaders` phones are not being tapped. The Pune incident proves that Patil had misled the House," Munde said.
The BJP leader said tapping phones of political adversaries is violation of the rights and freedom granted under the Constitution.
The police registered cases of inciting violence and criminal conspiracy against Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray`s personal assistant Milind Narvekar after tapping phone conversation between them on the eve of Pune bandh.
Munde said if phone tapping was necessary, Pune Municipal Commissioner`s phone should have been tapped. "We could have got information as to who was behind the decision to shift the statue of Dadoji Konddev, considered as a teacher of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj," he said and demanded that telephone records of the Civic Commissioner be investigated.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, however, dismissed the criticism saying, "Whatever has been done, it is as per law."
NCP spokesman Madan Bafna said a Police Commissioner has powers to take a decision regarding tapping of phones to ensure that law and order prevailed in area of his
"Due to the phone tapping, the real face of Shiv Sena has been exposed. The telephone conversation shows how the party planned to create destruction and panic to make the
bandh a success," he said adding this is a serious issue.
Bafna said it is up to the police to investigate if Narvekar got instructions from the top leadership of the party to pass on the message to Pune unit. "Police should probe if
Narvekar and Uddhav Thackeray had spoken on this issue," he added.