Snoopgate will not be allowed to be “whitewashed or brushed under carpet”, Union Minister Kapil Sibal said on Thursday, asking BJP to replace Narendra Modi as its PM candidate.

Upping the ante against the Gujarat Chief Minister over the issue, Mr. Sibal said that snoopgate is a national issue and hence the government will take it up very seriously.

“We believe that action should happen in this case. We assure that we will not allow it to be whitewashed or brushed under carpet. If people are involved they will be punished,” he said when told that Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia has expressed annoyance that the Centre was not taking action into this case in the manner in which it had acted in call-detail record case of BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

He also dismissed the two-member inquiry commission set up by the state government to probe the issue, saying the government is “trying to whitewash the matter.”

“What will happen when the Gujarat Chief Minister, who himself is a potential accused, he sets up the committee...He is Chief Minister and his men will inquire it. They are trying to whitewash the matter by setting up this inquiry.

“It will also take 11 years like the Nanavati Commission, which is yet to submit its report despite 20 extensions in 11 years. People will not accept it...this is a very serious issue,” Mr. Sibal said.

He said the Nanavati Commission, which was set up by the Modi government to probe Gujarat riots was slated to submit its report in three months but the same is yet to be done.

Mr. Sibal also hit out at Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on the issue.

He recalled that during Mr. Jaitley’s call detail case, Ms. Swaraj had said that snooping is a case of non-bailable warrant while Mr. Jaitley had said that phone tapping undermines the tenets of democracy, but they have now “gone silent”, when the issue now pertains to Gujarat.

“BJP should rethink...they should have a credible prime ministerial candidate and not someone who is involved in snooping,” he said, adding that Congress wants a strong Opposition in place and not anybody, who fizzles out in the end.

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