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State refused permission to Gujarat for snooping

NEW DELHI: Dec 24, 2013 DHNS 3:37 IST
Amit Shah. PTI File Image
Investigative portal “Gulail” on Tuesday released a fresh tranche of tapes on the alleged snooping of a young woman by the Gujarat Police, said to be at the behest of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s man Friday Amit Shah.

Conversations in the newly released tapes, purportedly between top Gujarat Police officers A K Sharma and G S Singhal, revealed that the Gujarat government had approached Karnataka in August 2009 to snoop on the woman, who was then living in Bangalore. But Karnataka refused sanction.

In a conversation attributed to Sharma, the Karnataka home secretary rejected an application by Gujarat.

The Gujarat under-secretary had sought surveillance on the woman. The Karnataka home secretary said his Gujarat counterpart had to write a letter according to laid down procedures and the communication had to be delivered in person.

The under-secretary was not authorised to sign such letters.

Gulail, however, claimed that it appeared that the Gujarat government did not pursue the matter.

In one of the conversations, Sharma allegedly told Singhal that the Karnataka government did not sanction tapping of her phones, but her Bangalore phones were intercepted.

In another tape, the two officers allegedly discussed their failure to track her movements due to problems in mobile towers.

They also discussed about a text message from a telecom company official informing them about the problems in tracking her.

Gulail's Ashish Khetan told a press conference that the 39 tapes were not part of the ones given to the CBI by Singhal. The portal on November 15 released 267 tapes provided to the CBI, kicking up a political storm and putting Modi under a cloud of suspicion as his rivals claimed that he was the “saheb” at whose behest the snooping was conducted.

The Union Home Ministry has prepared a note to be presented before the Cabinet for setting up a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on the issue.

The ministry has sought approval for conducting a probe through either a sitting or a retired Supreme Court Judge. The CoI, once formed, is expected to complete the probe within three months, sources said.

Khetan claimed that the BJP had been exposed with the fresh tapes. Rebutting the BJP’s claims that the intent was to provide her “discreet security”, he alleged that the new conversations showed that they were interested about the woman’s “love life”. In one of the conversations, Sharma purportedly discussed about him listening to conversations of the woman for two months and that she had a break-up with her boyfriend, but they patched up later.

The conversations brought to fore instances where policemen trailed the woman and her would-be husband whenever they went to hotels. When she arrived from Bangalore to Ahmedabad, she was allegedly trailed from the airport. Singhal purportedly asked Sharma whether he could arrange for a photograph of the woman. Khetan claimed that it exposed the BJP’s claims.

“There was no communication between the woman and the police.

“ They scoured flight passenger lists to figure out her arrival time in Ahmedabad, tailed her when she took an auto from the airport and by following her, found out the hotel where she was staying,” Khetan alleged.

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