Bhubaneswar: Rejecting the demand for a judicial probe into the alleged telephone tapping episode, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday claimed his government has never intercepted phones of any minister, MLA, MP or bureaucrat.
"I can assure the members of this House that my government has not intercepted the telephones or mobile phones of any minister, MLA, MP or IAS or IPS officers or for that matter anyone who is not involved in any criminal or Naxal activity," Patnaik told the state Assembly while replying the debate on the supplementary budget for the Home Department.
Claiming that he and his government always believed in democratic values, transparency in governance and ethics in public life, the Chief Minister said this is because the people of Odisha have been showering their blessings continuously on his government.
Under Sec 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the state government has given orders for legal interception of telephones for 4,620 numbers in the last four years which works out to be less than 1,200 per year, he said.
"Against this, the Government of India gives orders of interception for 7,500 to 9,000 numbers per month on an average, which works out about one lakh per year," he claimed.
Earlier, Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan and his party MLAs had demanded a judicial inquiry into large-scale tapping of phones. They also alleged that the government had been using telephone interception against political opponents.