The Opposition boycotted the fag end of the sitting of the Assembly on Thursday demanding a judicial enquiry into alleged tapping of phones of political and community leaders including KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala.

The Opposition alleged, during the debate on the demands for grants for Police and Jails, that equipment capable of tapping 1000 telephones at a time was used for telephone tapping by the Special Branch of the Police. Deputy leader of the CPI (M) Kodiyeri Balakrishnan maintained that the Home Minister was misleading the House in the matter. Proper protocol should be drawn up to prevent misuse of the powers to tap telephones. Towards this end, a judicial probe was required.

Replying to the debate, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said that Off the Air GSM equipment mentioned by the Opposition was something that was not permitted to be imported into the country. It would be irrational to claim that some police officer imported the Rs. 5-crore equipment and used it to snoop on politicians.

The Minister noted that government policy was against tapping of telephones of public men. Telephone tapping is done to check terrorism and other serious crimes. Only the service provider could tap telephones. The order for that is to be issued by the Home Secretary and a police office not below the rank of Inspector General of Police has to put up the proposal.

The Opposition, Mr. Radhakrishnan said, was making wild allegations without any evidence with political motives. This was a cheap tactics and the Mr. Balakrishnan was behind it. The CPI (M) was angry with him for the police investigation into the gruesome murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan. However, the law would take its course in the case.

He recalled that neither Mr. Balakrishnan nor CPI (M) State secretary Pinarai Vijayan had visited the home of Mr. Chandrasekharan following his murder.

Referring to the Opposition criticism that Kerala Anti-Social Activities Prevention Act was being misused by police officials against politicians, the Home Minister said that the Act would not be used against politicians. It was aimed to be used only against professional goondas.

He would personally look into the complaint that it had been used against the son of K. K. Lathika. However, it was a quasi judicial process and legal formalities would have to be followed. He would examine whether the action taken was against government policies.