The CPI(M) on Monday demanded a law against eavesdropping of telephone conversation by central surveillance agencies and said that alleged tapping of phones of party General Secretary Prakash Karat and others must stop immediately.

Stating that the advanced technology was imported in 2005 to keep a tab on terrorists, an editorial in CPI(M) mouthpiece ’Ganasakti’ alleged the phones of Karat, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Congress’ Dijvijay Singh were also tapped.

“Under which law was the tapping ordered and by whom? Is this done in a democratic country? It amounts to betrayal of democracy,” it said.

The fault of Karat, it said, was the CPI(M)’s decision to withdraw support to the UPA government over the nuclear deal “which would barter away India’s sovereignty”.

“Therefore, the government had to know what the CPI(M) was up to.”

The mouthpiece said earlier permissions were required from telephone exchanges or mobile phone companies for tapping, but now it was not needed with the advancement of technology.

Earlier, it recalled, the telephones of former president Zail Singh and former prime minister Chandrasekhar were tapped and former Karnataka chief minister Ramkrishna Hegde had to resign due to allegations of phone-tapping.

Demanding to know whether this technology was being properly used to monitor terrorist activities, it asked why the government did not have prior information about the Mumbai terror attack and the Pune bomb blast.

Without naming Kishenji, it also asked how Maoist leaders could talk to the media on mobiles without being traced.

“Instead of using this technology to track down terrorists and Maoists, it is being used for surveillance of political leaders,” it said.

A day earlier, the CPI(M) mouthpiece had hit out at the UPA government accusing it of being a “silent spectator” to the irregularities in the IPL since 2008.

It demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be constituted immediately to inquire into the entire issue.

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