Two news portals on Friday made public tapes in which BJP general secretary Amit Shah is purportedly heard directing police to put a young woman and a senior IAS officer under illegal surveillance in 2009 when he was Gujarat’s minister of state for home.
Investigative news websites Gulail and Cobrapost played out to the media a series of conversations in Gujarati, which they claim were between Shah and the then SP in the state’s anti-terrorism squad GL Singhal.
HT couldn’t independently verify the claim that the voice was that of Shah, who couldn’t be reached for comments. The Congress demanded a probe by the CBI.
The CBI told HT an investigation was already on.
Shah is allegedly heard telling Singhal to deploy adequate number of policemen to keep a strict vigil on the woman and intercept her phone calls.
Singhal is an accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. Shah had to step down in 2010 and was arrested after he was named in the case as well.
The woman’s father, however, denied that the Gujarat government and police had put his daughter under surveillance, and charged “vested interests” with giving a political colour to a personal issue.
“Our family had come from Kutch to Ahmedabad since my wife had to undergo an operation. At that time my Bangalore-based daughter had also come and she was staying in a hotel,” the woman’s father said.
“Under the circumstances I was worried for her and had orally requested the chief minister, Narendra Modi, with whom we have long standing family relations, to take care of my daughter.”
The tapes also reveal that Shah also allegedly instructed Singhal to keep an eye on the movements of IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, who was apparently known to the woman.
The CBI, which, according to the portals, has the entire set of telephone recordings and Singhal’s statement, said the matter was under investigation.
“We are looking into the conversations provided by GL Singhal to see whether they form part of any conspiracy in the Ishrat Jahan case or any other case under investigation by the CBI,” a senior CBI official told HT on condition of anonymity.
Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal said, “The nation would like to know why Shah, who has already been in jail in a fake encounter case, ordered illegal snooping of a young woman.”
The BJP declined comment while party sources said the woman’s father had already issued a statement.
Civil society activists termed the revelations as a gross misuse of official position and police machinery that breached privacy of an innocent citizen.
The tapes are likely to generate political heat as campaigning is at a feverish pitch for five state elections and the general elections are a few months away.