Man named in FIR says he is not aware of the allegations

The Cyber Crime Cell of the Chennai Police has registered a First Information Report to begin a probe into allegations of spying on Tamil activists and others by a security agency allegedly hired by the Indian Premier League (IPL).

A person named Gorki Chandola has been named in the FIR under provisions of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933.

The FIR follows a complaint by advocate P. Pugalenthi. He accused Mr. Chandola of illegally monitoring phone conversations.

Mr. Pugalenthi, who is also secretary of the Tamil Nadu People’s Rights Forum, alleged that the suspect was in possession of ‘off-the-air’ monitoring equipment and was monitoring the calls of Tamil activists, student leaders, politicians, advocates, journalists and some police officers.

Hours after the case was registered, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) recorded Mr. Pugalenthi’s statement. “They wanted to know the basis of my complaint and details of the sources. I have given them the relevant inputs,” he said.

Contacted by The Hindu , Mr. Chandola said he did not want to comment as he was aware neither of the charges against him nor of the FIR registered by the police.

A senior CCB officer said a special team, headed by an inspector, was formed to probe the charges. “We will seek the help of service providers to check whether any of their numbers were illegally intercepted or monitored by any unauthorised agency or persons. No decision has been taken yet on summoning Mr. Chandola,” he said.

The FIR invokes Section 66 of the IT Act, under which computer-related offences could attract up to five years in prison.

Some student organisations had threatened to disrupt IPL matches in Chennai if Sri Lankan players were not removed from the teams. After Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sri Lankan players, umpires and staff were prevented from participating in, or even witnessing, the matches.