The BJP on Sunday claimed that interception of calls and emails were done illegally during the Congress-led UPA government while PM Narendra Modi dispensation has adopted legal means with its order designating 10 agencies to do so.
In an order on Thursday, the Union Home Ministry authorised 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt "any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer". The centre's order had come under attack from the opposition who said that the move was "unconstitutional and an assault on fundamental rights" and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra showed that in two RTI replies the UPA government in August 2013 had said that on an average its agencies intercepted 9000 telephone calls and 500 emails a month. It had also listed 10 agencies which did the monitoring - Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, CBDT Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, NIA, RA&W, Directorate of Signal Intelligence, DG Police of concerned state and Commissioner of Delhi.
"Tell me how is this different from the December 20 order? The only difference is that the December 20 (order) was legally notified by the central government while the UPA had not notified it and upon an RTI they had released the list. These 10 agencies were working even at that time. They were snooping on 9000 telephone calls and 500 emails every month and Congress is accusing others of snooping?
"The political party which enforced emergency, the party which brought the post office amendment bill how can that political party level such charges against another party? The Congress party for its opportunism has gone to the extent of playing with national security" he alleged.
The decision to intercept anybody's computer can be invoked only in matters of national integrity and security, public order and friendly relations with other countries, the government has said.
The earlier mechanism was not defined and it has now been made robust and accountable, it claimed.