While the Delhi government and the Centre continue to be at loggerheads over the jurisdiction of the state government’s anti-corruption branch, efforts to strengthen chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s anti-graft unit have already begun at the Delhi secretariat.
As part of strengthening its functioning, the ACB has sought more officers, vehicles, laptops, source money for other similar requirements for the unit.
A proposal by the ACB to increase its budget from the existing Rs 7 crore to Rs 36 crore to meet the above requirements was reportedly tabled before the Delhi cabinet. Among the other requirements, the note mentions the ‘procurement of high-end equipment for data and research analysis’ which has triggered a debate and protests with the opposition parties accusing the government of snooping. The Delhi government has, however, denied approving this proposal as a cabinet note.
The requirement of gadgets, according to ACB is linked with the increased usage of mobile phones as a mode of communication for corrupt practices and taking bribes.
While the opposition has levelled allegations against Kejriwal, accusing him of planning to tap mobile phones to settle political scores, ACB officers said the plan is to buy software which is legal and used by other police agencies. “The Delhi Police uses a software named INIFU which was purchased a few years ago. We are looking at similar softwares. Mobile phones are used in almost all crimes and corruption cases. The CDR analysing software will help us trace links of the phone numbers. This is very different from snooping or tapping. The software will enable us find the location of the person when the call is made,” said an official.
Another official said that the softwares which are freely available in the market and cost around Rs1 lakh help investigators find specific links between the numbers from the lakhs of phone records they have to analyse. “For snooping or tapping a particular number one requires the permission of the government. The CDR software helps in the investigation of the calls which have already been made in the past. The CBI and other central agencies also use this,” said the officer.