Some members of the Joint Parliament Committee probing the 2G spectrum scam, which interrogated CBI and DoT witnesses on Tuesday, are learnt to have raised the question of illegal tapping of phones by private persons as a matter of grave national security.
On Monday, a private television channel aired purported taped conversations between CBI prosecutor A.K. Singh and prime accused, Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra.
“Tapping is a rare arm in the hand of the government to secure national security and can only be done with the approval of the Home Secretary. It is a matter of great concern that tapping has been done by a private agency and that your counter surveillance has failed. If the CD containing conversations between your prosecutor and prime accused had not been given to you, you would have been in the dark about a very important investigation,” CPI Leader Gurudas Dasgupta told CBI Director Ranjit Sinha.
According to sources in the JPC, Mr. Sinha’s answer to this was that this happened in spite of the counter-surveillance since the team had great trust in Mr. A.K. Singh.
Mr. Dasgupta further alleged a conspiracy in the CD being sent to the CBI 10 days before the JPC meeting and it being leaked to a private television channel just a day before the meeting. “It has been done to undermine the CBI or influence judicial proceedings,” he told The Hindu.
When asked by Mr. Dasgupta if the CBI was satisfied with its performance given that it has been accused of sleeping on the wheel since it filed its first FIR in October 2009, Mr. Sinha is learnt to have admitted: “We should improve our work and win the confidence of the people.”
When asked by BJP leader Jaswant Singh why the CBI was acting on the tape without having checked its veracity, Mr. Sinha is learnt to have said: “We know their voices, we will take a final call after further examination.”
T.R. Baalu of the DMK demanded that former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, be called as witness. It is learnt that JPC Chairman P.C. Chacko did not agree to this, only stating that he “will consider it.”
In the meantime, Mr. Sinha has already stated publicly that a preliminary enquiry has been initiated based on prima facie investigation, and further that Mr A.K. Singh has been removed as the agency’s prosecutor in the 2G matter.
BJP leader Prakash Jawadekar said new details that have emerged were atrocious, and demanded answers from the Congress. The JPC, in the meanwhile, made it clear that the report would be ready by May 10, 2013. Mr. Chacko is learnt to have ruled out calling either the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister. He said: “There is no need to call ministers. We cannot call everyone. The JPC has questioned the Secretaries of the concerned ministries.” The JPC has not even decided on whether Sanjay Chandra or Mr. A.K. Singh will be called.