No judge found yet to head probe into snoopgate in Gujarat

No judge found yet to head probe into snoopgate in Gujarat

No judge found yet to head probe into snoopgate in Gujarat

Nearly a month after it announced a probe into the snooping scandal allegedly involving Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, government so far has failed to name the retired judge who will head the Judicial Commission to go into the charges.

Official sources said a few judges have been approached by the government to take up the assignment, but all of them are said to have turned down the offer describing the case as "highly political".

As the Lok Sabha election is approaching and Modi is BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, the sources said, government so far has not find any judge who is willing to head the Judicial Commission of inquiry to go into the charges.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has denied that no judge is willing to head the inquiry but admitted "some problems" in announcing the name of the retired judge.

On January 10, Shinde had announced that a judge to head the Judicial Commission would be announced "within a day or two".

But even after nine days of Home Minister's statement, no announcement regarding the name of the judge came.

On December 26, 2013, government had announced appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into the "snooping" on a woman in Gujarat allegedly at the behest of Modi.

The decision was taken by the Union Cabinet under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act which empowers the Centre to set up such a commission.

The commission, to be headed by a retired judge of Supreme Court or retired Chief Justice of a High Court, is supposed to submit its report within three months.

The Union Cabinet has decided to constitute the inquiry into the incidents of physical/electronic surveillance in the states of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi allegedly without authorisation, the announcement had said.

The Commission will also look into charges of snooping on Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh by the previous BJP government when he was in the opposition as well as the leaking of the Call Data Records (CDR) of BJP leader Arun Jaitley in Delhi.

The Centre's decision overruled the contention of the Gujarat government that the matter was a state subject and that it has already appointed a Commission to probe it.

The Union Cabinet's decision came against the backdrop of claims that the alleged snooping was conducted beyond the state of Gujarat.

The controversy broke out more than two months ago when two news portals released CDs of purported telephonic conversations between Modi aide and the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah and two top state police officials relating to snooping on a woman in 2009.

The conversations, purportedly between August and September 2009, do not specifically mention Modi by name but refers to a "saheb", which the portals claimed was the Gujarat Chief Minister at whose instance the snooping was done.

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