The alleged bugging of transport minister Nitin Gadkari's residence disrupted Parliament on Wednesday, with the Congress alleging that the NDA government was allowing tapping of telephones on a large scale.
The Congress demanded a thorough probe to unearth the truth, even as home minister Rajnath Singh emphasised that newspaper reports on the alleged bugging were "false and baseless."
The Congress alleged that the methods used in Gujarat to keep tabs on ministers and MPs were being replicated at the Centre. Calling it a breach of privacy, the Opposition party raised the issue in both Houses and demanded that a JPC be set up to investigate the matter.
In the din that ensued, the Upper House had to be adjourned four times in the morning session.
Video: Bugging row stalls Parliament
"When the news itself is false and baseless, the question of an inquiry does not arise," home minister Rajnath Singh asserted in Lok Sabha.
Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that phones of as many as 29,000 people were tapped in Gujarat. He demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a detailed statement in the House on how many ministers, MPs and officials were being spied upon.
Deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said, "It is a question of privacy…Who has allowed it? It has to be discussed in the House."
Attempting to bury the controversy, Rajnath Singh said in Rajya Sabha said Gadkari had himself dismissed the media reports as baseless "and there have been no complaints by the minister or anyone else in this regard."
Singh added that no high-powered listening device was found at Gadkari's residence. His explanation, however, failed to mollify the agitated members.
Sharma said even the issue of call records of then Leader of the Opposition and now Leader of the House Arun Jaitley being allegedly accessed unauthorisedly was discussed in the House.
Video: Reports of bugging Nitin Gadkari's house untrue: Rajnath Singh