With its report compiled, the vigilance bureau probe into the much-hyped, alleged telephone tapping by the previous Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP regime has underlined that the crime investigation department (CID) snooped on political leaders, cops, bureaucrats and realtors, among others, in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act and the Information Technology Act. The report would shortly be submitted to the Congress government.
The probe that took a month is based on data retrieved from computers seized on the intervening night of December 25 last after Virbhadra Singh assumed the office of chief minister -- four computers each were taken from the offices of the CID and even the vigilance bureau.
As the top officers were changed, the bureau was later handed the task of the prone following forensic examination.
Sources said the hard disks seized from the offices of the CID contain recorded conversations of prominent leaders from both Congress and BJP. Sleuths also came across voices of three former cabinet ministers. Congress heavyweights and an MP also figure among those tapped. Further, there are conversations of close relatives of then-MP Virbhadra as well as those of the then CM Prem Kumar Dhumal.
The CID had retained conversations that dated back to 2009. It is learnt that between January 2009 and December 2012, when the Congress returned to power, the technical wing of the CID snooped on 1,385 people.
PERMISSIONS OR NOT
According to provisions of the telegraph act, recorded conversations have to be destroyed within six months from time of permission to tap. In fact, the report also raises questions about the criteria for granting permission, which were given without specifying reasons. In a specific case, the home affairs department granted permission to snoop on a journalist of a Hindi weekly.
Worse, the cops also did not maintain confidentiality. Many taps are personal.
The report is likely to raise question on conversation recorded to trap the corrupt official, but there was no further action against such officers.
WITH ADGP TODAY
The report, which was finalised on Friday evening, is likely to be placed before additional director general of police (vigilance bureau) Prithvi Raj on Saturday before it is sent to the home department. The vigilance department has also sought opinion from the law department as to which sections of law can be invoked when it comes to filing a case. It is particularly ascertaining the culpability of the police officials who ran the taps.
TOP COPS' RIVALRY
To the surprise of cops, telephonic conversations of a since-deceased director general of police, who was booked in a corruption case, were also found on one of the hard disks, a clear reflection of professional rivalry amongst top cops.