Woman moves SC in Snoopgate case
In a new twist to the controversial Snoopgate case involving BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the woman architect who was allegedly spied upon in Gujarat moved the Supreme Court against any investigation, saying it would violate her privacy.
This came on a day when Law Minister Kapil Sibal confirmed that the government had stopped looking for a judge to head an inquiry into the allegation that Modi had ordered excessive surveillance on the woman in 2009.
The woman moved the apex court along with her father, in a bid to restrain the Centre and state government from going ahead with their commissions of inquiry. In their petition, the woman and her father said they were “thankful to the Gujarat government” for taking steps on a “personal request”. These were “safety measures”, “not only within their knowledge but fully justified”, they said. The petition also sought protection of their fundamental right to privacy and right to live with dignity. Her father urged the Supreme Court to restrict the media from covering the case.
The joint petition was heard by a bench comprising Justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and N V Ramana, who said they cannot pass an interim order for staying proceedings without hearing the parties. The bench issued notices to the Centre and the Gujarat government seeking their replies for hearing on Friday. The apex court has requested the media not to make the name of the woman public.
The Snoopgate scandal erupted in 2009 with the revelation of secretly recorded phone conversations by G L Singhal, a former senior police officer in Gujarat.
The tapes allegedly established that a ‘Saheb’ sought information on the movements of a woman architect. The Congress alleged that the ‘Saheb’ was none other than Modi, with his close aide Amit Shah also being involved.
Reacting to the Centre’s latest decision, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said there was nothing left to investigate in the matter as there was already a commission of inquiry, appointed by the Gujarat government, that was looking into the issue.
“The setting up of a parallel commission by the Centre was a malafide exercise and I would pay a great tribute to the Indian judiciary for none of the judges in India were willing to cooperate with this malafide political exercise,” Jaitley said.
“The lady in question has already made a statement. She has also sent a statement to the National Women’s Commission. I doubt that anything else is left for the central government to do in the matter,” he said.
Jaitley said the state commission, which is investigating the issue, has unlimited jurisdiction and it should continue to function and come out with its report.