Own up responsibility for phone tapping: CPI(M)

The party also demanded that intelligence bodies be brought under Parliamentary oversight and codification of surveillance on grounds of national security and criminal activity. Referring to reports in a magazine about tapping of phone calls of four political leaders including CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, the party Politburo said it was a "serious matter" that government was using intelligence agencies to serve its political purpose.

The report shows that the government is using the intelligence and security agencies "to serve its political purpose to spy upon opposition leaders and to keep track of even its own allies and party leaders," it said. Asking the government to own up responsibility and take action against those who ordered the surveillance, the party said, "Such acts subvert the democratic system and breeds an atmosphere of illegality in the higher echelons of the government. They cannot be tolerated".

"Protecting the covert activities of the intelligence and security agencies cannot be made the pretext for a cover-up," the CPI(M) said. To ensure that such illegal acts do not recur, the government should place in Parliament a clear set of guidelines prohibiting the use of intelligence and security agencies for any form of surveillance of political leaders and their activities, it said

Further, the instructions on tapping of phones and surveillance on grounds of national security or investigation of criminal activity must be codified, the party said, demanding that intelligence and security agencies "must be subject to Parliamentary oversight". Reacting to the report, Karat had told reporters last night that the phone tapping by the government was "illegal and intolerable. The government has to own up responsibility and take action against those responsible".

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