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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

After 3 months, Snoopgate panel remains headless

Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 06, 2014
First Published: 00:44 IST(6/3/2014) | Last Updated: 01:32 IST(6/3/2014)

The Centre seems to have put in cold storage the decision to set up a judicial inquiry commission to look into allegations of illegal surveillance of a woman in Gujarat and other such instances in Himachal Pradesh and the national capital.

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The cabinet in December last year had cleared a proposal to set up a judicial commission of inquiry which was to be headed by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge. But three months after the decision, the government is yet to find a suitable candidate to head the panel.

“Some former judges were asked to head the panel but all of them have declined the offer so far. The move seems to have been put on the back-burner now. The Election Commission has announced the poll schedule on Wednesday. Though there is no bar on the government to announce the appointment as the cabinet had cleared the proposal three months back but now the possibility looks bleak,” said a home ministry official requesting anonymity.

When another senior MHA official was asked about the status of the judicial commission, he just brushed aside the question and said it is poll time.

The BJP has accused the government of a witch-hunt for trying to set up the commission.

Though, the government tried to show that it was not targeting the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government and added cases of illegal procurement of call details of BJP leader Arun Jaitley in the capital and alleged snooping of Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh in the mandate of the commission of inquiry, but it failed to convince the BJP.

Arun Jaitley referred to the refusal of several former SC judges to head the commission to argue that the “moral isolation” of the “arrogant” government is complete. “What happened to that commission? One after the other retired SC judges were approached to head the commission. They all declined for this politically motivated exercise,” said Jaitley.


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