The Modi government on Monday tried to put a firm lid on the controversy over listening devices being planted in Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s house, a stand that the Congress quickly brushed aside to demand a probe.
Gadkari had dismissed media reports about listening devices having been found at his New Delhi residence as “highly speculative” on Sunday. Many Congress leaders believed Gadkari’s initial reaction wasn’t the unequivocal denial they had expected if the media reports were untrue.
“As already stated, I reiterate that no devices were found at my residence anywhere,” the minister tweeted on Monday, hoping to cap speculation that he had been spied upon.
The controversy erupted after a report in The Sunday Guardian said “high power listening devices” were first “accidentally” discovered in Gadkari’s house, and then some more during a debugging exercise.
Home minister Rajnath Singh, however, firmly rejected the Congress demand for a probe.
“Since Gadkari himself has denied, we have nothing to say on it,” Singh told reporters when asked if the home ministry — which oversees intelligence agencies — would probe the incident.
Watch video: Home ministry rules out probe into Gadkari's bugging device row
Incidentally, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first senior Congress leader to demand a probe into the allegation.
Former foreign minister Salman Khurshid and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh joined him on Monday, calling for a probe by an investigating agency and a discussion in Parliament.
Congress leader Manish Tewari added the government must inform the citizens of the legal architecture available to protect themselves from such incidents. Tewari said the NDA government should put in public domain all details it had about the incident.