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HindustanTimes Tue,22 Jul 2014

My room was bugged by Dhumal regime: HP CM

Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times  Shimla, February 18, 2013
First Published: 21:50 IST(18/2/2013) | Last Updated: 11:43 IST(19/2/2013)

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Monday said his table was bugged during the regime of Prem Kumar Dhumal-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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Equating police's crime investigation department (CID) with Nazi German's police Gestapo, used for eliminating political rivals, Vibhadra Singh said that the former chief minister could not absolve himself from responsibility.

"Not only telephones but even the table in my room was bugged," the chief minister said.

"When I was central minister, they (police) even bugged the table of a particular room where I stayed in Chandigarh," he said.

"What was more interesting was that the cops sent for bugging my table were even paid for their travel by the police," said Virbhadra Singh while squarely blaming Dhumal for tapping of telephones.

"The then chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal also held the home portfolio with him. How is it possible that he (Dhumal) did not have information about large-scale telephone-tapping done during his regime," said Virbhadra Singh.

"I am even surprised that the telephones of civil society were tapped. The privacy of certain political leaders was infringed upon. The number of phones which were tapped clearly indicated the mala fide intention of the then government," Virbhadra Singh told reporters here.

"It was his moral responsibility. The brain behind it all was the (former) chief minister's," Virbhadra Singh said. Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy had submitted the report on data retrieved from computers by forensic experts   from State forensic laboratory at Junga.

Virbhadra Singh said that more than 1000 telephone numbers were intercepted during regime of previous government. "I received the report in the morning I have told the officers to look into   how many of the telephone conversations were tapped without obtaining the mandatory prior approval from the home department" said he. 

Inquiry by forensic science laboratory found that the previous government, in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act, recorded telephonic conversations of politicians, bureaucrats and other high-ranking people. "There is strong reason to believe that the approval to tap telephone on such large scale could not have been done by following the laid norms said he.

Singh was categorical that no one will be spared. "We are verifying the report. It is for sure that heads will role.  Telephone tapping is subversion of democracy" said he.

In reply on the role of former Director General of Police Dr D.S Manhas he said "If his culpilty is found than he will not be spared" said Singh.

Elaborating further he said that he has information that cops snooped on Political leaders, rivals in the BJP, bureaucrats and other high profile people. Conversations of some top government functionaries, BJP dissidents and journalists also figured in the long list.

"What is clear is from this report is that the BJP government was indulging in a conspiracy of surveillance on senior opposition leaders. I was on the top of the list. "It is not the question of blaming anyone but here it is the question of democracy and subversion of democratic norms," said Singh Officials told reporters here that  till 2011 789 telephones were tapped only 34 were done with permission of home department. Singh said it will take another ten days for the government to complete the inquiry.


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