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Vigilance bureau grills DGP Bhandari

india Updated: Jan 23, 2014 19:08 IST
HT Correspondent

The state vigilance bureau questioned ID Bhandari, the director general of police, home guards and fire services, for nearly two hours in the phone tapping case.

Bhandari, who was then heading the crime investigation department (CID), appeared before the state vigilance officers here on Wednesday. “He was asked about the motive behind the mass phone-tapping,” said a vigilance bureau official.

Superintendent of police (vigilance) Virender Tomar said former DGP B Kamal Kumar was also a witness in the case. “The vigilance department will soon send a team to Andhra Pradesh to record B Kamal’s statement,” he added.

Following chief minister Virbhadra Singh's recent statement that investigation into the case was almost complete, the vigilance bureau had expedited the investigation so that names could be added in the first information report (FIR).

The vigilance department had registered an FIR into the case on June 26, 2013, but had not named anyone thus far.

Meanwhile, police have also sought details from cellular companies about phone numbers that had been tapped. However, cellular companies — BSNL, Airtel and Reliance — told vigilance officials that following the law they had destroyed the entire record, and thus, could not tell which numbers had been intercepted.

The vigilance bureau has also sent a questionnaire to DGP DS Minhas.

The bureau has quizzed two IPS officers of inspector general (IG) rank besides nodal officers of eight mobile companies so far.

On October 30, 2013, the state forensic laboratory had submitted its final report to the vigilance bureau. The forensic team comprises assistant director of state forensic science laboratory, Junga, Visheshwar Sharma and two members — Rajat Chaudhary and Jagjit Singh.

Police had seized eight computers and a hard disc from the CID’s technical wing office soon after Virbhadra took charge as CM in December 2012, which were later sent to forensic laboratory.

The laboratory found records of 1,385 phone numbers that had been tapped by the CID and the vigilance bureau till December 2012 even as the CID had permitted the surveillance of 247 phones.

In February, Bhandari, who was then DGP, was transferred as the DGP, home guards and fire services, after Virbhadra alleged that his phones had been tapped when he was a member of the Opposition.

December 25, 2012: Computers and a hard disk seized from CID and vigilance bureau offices

February 19: DGP ID Bhandari transferred

June 15: Investigation completed and CM submitted the report to the government

June 26: An FIR registered by vigilance bureau

October 30: Forensic lab submitted the report to the vigilance bureau