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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

High-level team to probe HP telephone tapping case

Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times  Shimla, March 04, 2013
First Published: 21:37 IST(4/3/2013) | Last Updated: 21:41 IST(4/3/2013)

While ruling Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party are trading charges over telephone-tapping, a high-level committee is being constituted by the government to unravel snooping by the police.

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The government, which entrusted the probe to anti-corruption and vigilance bureau, has decided to constitute a team of officers with high integrity to probe telephone tapping conducted by both police's crime investigating department (CID) and anti-corruption bureau itself. 

Though the government is yet to decide  terms and reference of the inquiry, but Hindustan Times has learnt that official's team will comprise officers and sleuths from both police and forensic laboratory, Junga. The government has already handed over to the anti-corruption bureau the list of 1,600 telephone numbers that were retrieved from the hard discs of the computers seized from the headquarters of both CID and ACVB.

According to provisions in vigilance manual, ACVB can initiate probe without registering the case. The anti-corruption and vigilance bureau will identify telephone subscribers whose numbers were retrieved from the hard disc.

The sleuths will further investigate the role of private cellular subscribers. The ACVB in its probe verify whether the cellular telephone operators allowed interception with permission or telephones were being tapped without permission.

The government has already decided to issue notices to the telephone subscribers for their role in the telephone tapping. The firms will be asked to provide details of telephone tapping. There are nearly 1,100 telephones that were tapped directly by CID and a list of about 500 phone numbers was retrieved from ACVB computers.

Its is being said that ACB had intercepted telephones of bureaucrats and lower-rung officers.

Unlike the CID, in majority of  cases the ACVB sleuths deleted  conversations after completion of investigations. The preliminary inquires conducted into the tapping episode found that ACVB were sanctioned machines and equipment by government for surveillance of phones.

In absence of its own technical wing, telephone calls of Vigilance bureau were routed through CID. The vigilance sleuths will now have to sift the numbers retrieved from both the computer's hard disc of CID and Vigilance Bureau, as the data retrieved by forensic experts also contains the number of bureau that were routed through CID.


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