Essar phone tapping: Centre may order probe

Essar phone tapping: Centre may order probe

Essar phone tapping: Centre may order probe

The role of the Mumbai police and erstwhile Hutchison telecom in illegal tapping of telephones of politicians and industry leaders, at the behest of its promoter Essar Group, may be probed by a central agency, a senior government functionary said on Wednesday.

There have been instances in the past when certain individuals and organisations took the help of the police to tap telephones. Under such circumstances, it is possible that the phones were tapped with the help of someone in the Mumbai Police, the functionary said.

Meanwhile, a Home Ministry official said the file related to the illegal tapping of phones, which was sent by the Prime Minister’s Office, is currently with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and so far no decision on the next course of action has been taken.

The official said there is a possibility of conducting an internal inquiry, likely by the Intelligence Bureau, before ordering a formal probe by an organisation like the CBI.
The PMO had forwarded to the Home Ministry a complaint by lawyer Suren Uppal alleging that the Essar Group had ordered its former security chief Albasit Khan to tap into its business rivals’ telephone conversations when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.

The complaint incorporated call logs of purported conversations of Mukesh and Anil Ambani with directors and promoters of their companies and other senior officials. The tapped conversations showed how business rivals reached out to politicians to seek favours.

The complaint also mentioned purported conversations of senior officials of the Vajpayee PMO, former National Security advisor Brajesh Mishra and the then prime minister’s foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya.

The name of present Home Secretary Rajiv Mehreshi, who was posted in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, also figures among the officers whose phones were allegedly tapped.