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Fresh telephone tapping controversy erupts

The telephone tapping controversies continued to haunt the TN Govt with a minister being accused of influencing a top vigilance official over phone to help one of her relatives facing a corruption case.

india Updated: May 13, 2008 17:28 IST

The telephone tapping controversies continued to haunt the Tamil Nadu government with a minister being accused of influencing a top vigilance official over phone to help one of her relatives facing a corruption case.

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy released a CD containing the 'tapped' phone conversation between Social Welfare Minister Poongothai and the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption S K Upadhyaya.

Poongothai, admitting that she had spoken to the official, told mediapersons that she had called the official only to know the status of the case and denied that she had sought the exoneration of the relative, employed in the state electricity board and arrested by the DVAC for allegedly taking a bribe. She also admitted that the voice in the CD was that of hers.

Swamy demanded Poongothai's removal from the ministry accusing her of misusing her office and violating the model code of conduct.

Only last month, excerpts of a conversation claimed to be between state chief secretary L K Tripathy and Upadyaya about a case involving AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa were published in a daily, triggering a controversy.

The state government has ordered a probe headed by a retired Madras High Court judge to inquire how the CD, containing the conversation, reached the media.

Earlier, media reports said the telphones of political leaders; journalists and officials were being tapped. The government, however, denied the charge.