CBI takes over Karnataka phone tapping case

CBI takes over Karnataka phone tapping case

The B S Yediyurappa government has written to the Centre on August 19 seeking a CBI probe into the phone tapping. The Bengaluru Cyber Police Station had initially registered a case following a complaint by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), Bengaluru. File photo

The CBI has taken over the investigations into the "illegal" telephone tapping of politicians in Karnataka since last August with the agency registering a case against unknown public servants and unknown private persons. 

The agency's taking over the case came after the Central government issued a notification following a recommendation from the BJP-led government in Karnataka, which said that an independent agency should investigate the case.

Registering a case under Information Technology Act and Indian Telegraph Act, the CBI will investigate the "illegal, unauthorised and unwanted interceptions of telephones of political leaders belonging to the ruling party and opposition parties as well as their associates, relatives and also of the government servants".

These phones were tapped between 1 August, 2018 and 19 August, 2019. There were allegations earlier that former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had ordered illegal tapping of several politicians and rebel MLAs when his government faced political crisis that ended in his ouster recently.

The illegal phone tapping case hogged limelight recently after a purported audio recording of a telephone conversation between one Faraz Ahmed and Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao was leaked to media days after he took over. In this purported audio, the Commissioner is heard lobbying for Commissioner’s post.

The B S Yediyurappa government has written to the Centre on August 19 seeking a CBI probe into the phone tapping. The Bengaluru Cyber Police Station had initially registered a case following a complaint by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), Bengaluru.

It was alleged that that the Technical Support Centre of Bengaluru City Police have intercepted a mobile number 98803XX007, which was "suspected to be used by a suspect in a case. However, the interception details were downloaded from server in a pen drive and parted with the Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru, on his instruction, which has been "misused".

In its letter to the Centre, the Karnataka government said, "because of this illegal/unauthorised/unwanted activity of telephone interception in the state, it is apprehended that crucial and personal information of many senior political leaders and government servants might have been leaked, which is likely to infringe upon their right to privacy".