The State Anti-Corruption and Vigilance Bureau (SACVB) has quizzed director general of police (DGP) (home guards and fire services) ID Bhandari for nearly two hours into the telephone snooping case.
Bhandari, who was heading the crime investigation department (CID) then, 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.
Meanwhile, 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 register B Kamal's statement,” he added.
Following chief minister Virbhadra Singh recent statement that investigation into the case was almost completed and challans would be submitted in the court, 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 so far.
Meanwhile, police have also sought details from the cellular companies about the phones numbers that were tapped; however, cellular companies - BSNL, Airtel and Reliance - told vigilance sleuths that following the law they had destroyed the entire record, and thus, could not tell which numbers were intercepted.
The vigilance bureau has also sent a questionnaire to the then DGP, DS Minhas. However, thus far, the bureau has quizzed two IPS officers of inspector general (IG) rank, besides, nodal officers of eight mobile companies in the case.
Earlier on October 30, 2013, state forensic laboratory had submitted its final report to the the vigilance bureau. The forensic team comprises assistant director of the 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 CID's technical wing offices soon after Virbhadra took over the rein of the state in December 2012, which were later sent to forensic laboratory for further investigations.
During investigations, the forensic laboratory found records of 1,385 telephones numbers that were tapped by the CID and the SACVB till December 2012, whereas the CID had granted permission to tap only 247 telephones.
In February, Bhandari, who was then DGP, was transferred as DGP of home guards and fire services, after Virbhadra alleged that his phones were tapped when he was in 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