The 2-member commission tasked with verifying authenticity of tapes released by Cobrapost, Gulail.com

Gujarat on Tuesday announced the terms of reference for the two-member committee it has appointed to look into the allegations, made by web portals Cobrapost and Gulail.com, of the State-sponsored snooping on a young woman architect and tasked the panel with verifying “whether the incident(s) of security/surveillance… actually took place”.

The State had on Monday announced the constitution of a two-member inquiry commission comprising retired High Court judge Justice Suganya Bhatt, who will head the panel, and former Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K.C. Kapoor.

‘Authenticity’

The Commission’s mandate is to look into “the authenticity and veracity of the said tapes [released by Cobrapost and Gulail.com]”.

According to its terms of reference, the panel would also look into the “facts, circumstances, reasons and causes that led to the alleged security/surveillance, if any, and/or steps taken by the government agencies”.

The terms of reference, curiously, also include finding out “whether circumstances leading to the release of the audio tapes after a long gap of four years reveal any conspiracy”.

The Opposition Congress in the State has described the inquiry panel as a “Modi Bachao Commission”. State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia termed the setting-up of the inquiry as “a smokescreen”.

Mr. Modhwadia said the terms of reference simply glossed over illegal phone-tapping or the illegal use of security apparatus. He alleged that the objectivity of the inquiry commission was suspect given that both its members had been beneficiaries of post-retirement perks from the present BJP regime in the State.