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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Phone tapping: VB for case against cops

Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times  SHIMLA, June 16, 2013
First Published: 01:15 IST(16/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:17 IST(16/6/2013)

The anti-corruption and vigilance bureau (ACVB) has recommended registration of criminal cases against cops who allegedly tapped telephones during the previous Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP regime.

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AP Singh, deputy inspector general of police (ACVB), on Saturday submitted a 12-page report to Prithvi Raj, additional director general of police (ACVB), in the alleged case. The report highlighted that provisions of the Indian Telegraph and Information Technology Act had been violated in more than one ways. "I have received the report. It will shortly be submitted to the government for further consideration," Raj said.

"All I can say at this moment is that provisions of the act have been violated grossly," he said. The report is likely to be submitted to the principal secretary, home, on Monday.

The report compiled by the anti-corruption and vigilance department is based on data retrieved from computers by experts of the forensic science laboratory. It took the investigators nearly a month to complete the report.

Around 1,300 phones were reportedly tapped or intercepted during the previous BJP regime in the state. A team of forensic experts had come to the conclusion after eight computers of the technical cell of the crime investigation department (CID) were seized on the intervening night of December 24 and 25 before Virbhadra assumed office as the chief minister.

The government had constituted a special team of forensic experts from the state forensic laboratory Junga to retrieve data from four computers each seized from offices of the CID and anti-corruption and vigilance bureau.

However, chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who also holds home portfolio, will decide future course of action, which is likely to come after the Mandi byelections on June 23. Telephone tapping is one of the major issues Congress leaders are continuously raking while campaigning in the poll-bound constituency.

The chief minister had been blaming Dhumal-led BJP of snooping on the Congress. If the government decides to register a criminal case, senior police officials who had earlier served the CID could be called for questioning by the anti-corruption and vigilance bureau.

"If other officers are found guilty of collusion, they will also be called for questioning," said a senior police officer.

Though reports are being kept under wraps for obvious reasons, sleuths have also found recorded telephonic conversations of prominent political leaders of both the Congress and the BJP. There are telephonic conversations of close relatives of the chief minister and former chief minister.

The report has also raised question over the manner in which the permissions were granted on the request forwarded by the CID to run telephone taps. In many cases, permissions were granted to record the telephones on "flimsy grounds". The report also raised questions over the role of the cellular services providing firms operating in the state.


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