Get any non-Congress Chief Minister to look into the issue, says Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister
Accuses Sonia Gandhi of being involved Warns Left of Congress' "designs" "An indication of a grave threat to security"
NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday demanded that allegations of phone tapping of certain Samajwadi Party leaders by the Centre be looked into by any non-Congress Chief Minister, including West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya, Tamil Nadu Chief Miniser J. Jayalalithaa or Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Yadav said Congress president Sonia Gandhi was behind the tapping of party general secretary Amar Singh's phone and alleged a conspiracy against his Government.
He said the party would take the matter to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and get in touch with other non-Congress parties including the Left to caution them against Congress "designs". The Samajwadi Party would raise the issue in the next session of Parliament and seek a Joint Parliamentary Party probe.
Demanding that the matter be investigated, he said he had no faith in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which was under the control of the Central Government, especially after the agency recommended dropping of cases against former Union Petroleum Minister Satish Sharma and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati in the Taj Corridor case. Alleging that the Centre's investigations into the phone-tapping incident were a "cover-up", Mr. Yadav said he would prefer that the matter be investigated by the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Government. "If that is not acceptable to the Centre, then the matter can be looked into by any of the non-Congress Chief Ministers suggested by me." Mr. Yadav said he had not spoken to any of these Chief Ministers so far.
The Chief Minister released copies of two letters purported to have been written by R. Narayanswamy, Principal Secretary (Home) of the National Capital Region Government, and Ranjit Narayan, Joint Commissioner of Police, reportedly authorising interception of phone calls to a landline and a mobile number ostensibly belonging to Mr. Amar Singh.
Referring to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil's denial of any phone tapping and dismissal of the letters as "forged", Mr. Yadav said if that was true, it was the indication of a "grave threat" to the security of the country. "This is a serious matter. The phones of political leaders are being tapped and the Government is not in the know of it."
Mr. Yadav said he had brought the incident to the notice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Mr. Patil on the night of December 30. Mr. Patil returned his call the next morning to confirm that the phone tapping was done based on forged letters. "How could the matter be investigated within a few hours?" he asked, and added that the Government probe was a "cover-up."
Mr. Yadav was also cut-up about the UP Government not being taken into confidence about the arrest of a suspect from Noida who was allegedly involved with the detective agency used for phone tapping.
Asked whether the Samajwadi Party would withdraw support to the United Progressive Government at the Centre, Mr. Yadav said that was a separate issue. His party was giving outside support like the Left that was opposing several policies of the Government but had not withdrawn support.