Centre gives nod for probe into Gujarat snooping case, BJP threatens legal action

The Centre on Thursday gave the nod for setting up of an inquiry commission to look into allegations of Gujarat government using ATS to snoop on a woman.

Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday gave the nod for setting up of an inquiry commission to look into allegations of Gujarat government using ATS to snoop on a woman. A retired judge of the Supreme Court will investigate the matter.

Two investigative portals, Cobrapost and Gulail, had claimed on November 15 that Amit Shah, the former home minister of Gujarat and Narendra Modi`s close aide, had ordered illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of one `saheb` and they had released taped conversation between Shah and an IPS officer to back up their claim.

Shah, who is currently heading the BJP election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, is alleged to have misused his powers and the state police machinery for the illegal surveillance of the woman in August 2009.

The snooping scandal has seen a war of words between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress has been asking Modi to come clean on the matter, whereas the BJP has been defending its prime ministerial candidate for 2014 General elections, accusing the grand old party of playing dirty politics. The Congress has also been saying that the whole matter was an offence under Indian telegraph act.
The Gujarat government has set up its own commission but it has been alleged that the matter goes beyond the boundary of Modi`s state. As per the investigative portal, the issue extended to Karnataka as well. They have released a set of fresh 39 tapes, which supposedly contains conversation between between two Gujarat police officials, GL Singhal and AK Sharma, about spying on the woman.

It is being said that the Gujarat police had contacted its Karnataka counterpart in 2009 for intercepting the telephone of the woman who lived in Bangalore. However, as per reports, the Karnataka government had turned down the request.

Meanwhile, adding a fresh twist to the snooping row, the father of the woman had told the National Commission of Women (NCW) that his daughter did not want any probe into the issue as there was no encroachment on her privacy. He had also told the commission that he had himself made the request to the Gujarat CM to take the steps in his daughter`s interest , due to personal and family reasons.
Reacting on the latest development, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman told the media that the Congress was indulging in witch-hunt and this was its way of getting back at the Opposition after crushing defeat in the recently concluded Assembly elections.

“The setting up of an inquiry in a matter which is a state subject and with the Union government showing extraordinary enthusiasm and the timing of it smacks of Congress party`s method to oppress its political opponent,” she said. BJP president Rajnath dismissed the latest move by the Centre, saying that Modi was under no pressure.

Another BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad, accused the Congress of misusing its powers and also misusing the CBI. “The Congress never learns. The people of this country will give them a befitting reply and the BJP will emerge victorious,” he told a news agency.

And Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, tweeted that the BJP could legal action on the matter. Jaitley wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter - "Cabinet appoints a commission to probe alleged snooping - it is legally a suspect and will be challenged in court."

He also wrote - "Cabinet decision to appoint a commission to probe alleged snooping is violative of the Federal structure."

On the other hand, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh congratulated the Central government on the setting up of the commission and said that it should have happened earlier. He added that the whole matter was an open violation of India Telegraph Act and IT Act and somebody had to be held responsible for it.

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