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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Snooping row: 'woman spied on in Bangalore'

Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad, December 24, 2013
First Published: 17:08 IST(24/12/2013) | Last Updated: 10:18 IST(25/12/2013)

The snooping on a woman, allegedly at the behest of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s aide Amit Shah, took a fresh turn on Tuesday after website gulail.com released 39 new tapes and claimed she was spied on in Bangalore too.

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The new tapes revealed officials of private mobile service companies were involved with the Gujarat police in facilitating interception of the woman’s mobiles and also illegally taping conversation without authorisation from the Gujarat home secretary.

“Gulail is revealing… (the woman, an architect) was surveilled by the Gujarat police beyond the boundaries of the state.

“Gulail has obtained 39 new audio tapes of telephone conversations which reveal that the Gujarat Home Department had contacted the Karnataka government in 2009 and sought authorisation to intercept the cell phone of (the woman),” the website stated.

Gulail also raked up the “Saheb” reference made by it along with Cobrapost on November 15, when they first made their disclosure about the snooping.

In the fresh post, Gulalil said “a Saheb was taking great personal interest” in the private life of the woman — her movements and relationships.

During the November disclosure, Cobrapost and Gulail had released taped conversations between Shah and IPS officer GL Singhal to support their claim, but said its authenticity could not be confirmed.

The new tapes contain phone conversations between Singhal and another IPS officer, AK Sharma.

Singhal is an accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter killing case. Sharma, a former IG of the state intelligence bureau, is now joint commissioner of Ahmedabad police crime branch.

With the snooping scandal casting a shadow on Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, the party has mounted a spirited defence and maintained the woman was “provided security” at her family’s request.

The BJP has said the woman’s father had demanded protection for her.

The woman’s father has also sought to put an end to the row. He wrote to the National Commission for Women and said his daughter wanted no further probe, as was being politically demanded.

On November 25, the Modi government appointed a two-member commission comprising justice (retd) Sugnaben Bhatt of Gujarat high court and former additional chief secretary (home) KC Kapoor to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report within three months.

The Congress, however, has termed the inquiry “eyewash”. Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia has said state government contracts were awarded to the woman’s family members illegally. 

The Modi government has denied having any role in awarding contracts to a company owned by the brothers of the woman.

The Centre has already said it may order a probe into the alleged illegal surveillance.

Last week, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Centre was considering appointing a new inquiry commission because the issue concerned different states and provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act were violated while illegally taping the woman’s phones in Gujarat and Bangalore.

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