The investigation into the phone-tapping scandal at the Bengaluru Police Commissionerate will be handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), top police sources said on Wednesday. This comes in the backdrop of the episode taking a political turn as well.
A.H. Vishwanath, former JD(S) MLA, alleged that his phone was tapped by the coalition government and that Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy used these interceptions to “blackmail” rebel MLAs to withdraw their resignations.
“Mr. Kumaraswamy would threaten the MLAs of exposing them by releasing the audio clips of the telephonic conversations,” he told presspersons in Mysuru on Wednesday.
He claimed that he resigned as JD(S) State president as his phone was being tapped which indicated that the leaders did not have confidence in him.
Mr. Kumaraswamy denied the charges. “I had no need to save the seat by tapping phones. Allegations against me are false,” he tweeted.
This comes in the wake of speculation that the Bengaluru city police, during the tenure of Alok Kumar as Commissioner, had the tapped phones of several politicians, especially those who had a role in the political crisis.
R. Ashoka, former Home Minister, on Wednesday told presspersons in Bengaluru that six months ago he had spoken out about how the phones of several politicians and journalists were being tapped.
Sources said that senior police officials briefed Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa of the details of the interceptions in the city police during the political crisis, where it was decided to hand over the probe to CID.
However, it is not clear whether the CID probe will remain restricted to the phone interception which allegedly had the voice of incumbent Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao lobbying for the post, or whether the agency will be given a larger mandate to probe into the alleged illegal interceptions in the city police.
Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner (Crime – Bengaluru), had probed into how a conversation between Faraz Ahmed and Mr. Bhaskar Rao was leaked to the press, and submitted an interim report to DG&IGP Neelamani N. Raju on Monday.
The report said while the interception was as per procedure, a senior IPS officer asked for the audio tape and sought a probe into the leak.
“Since the charges are against a senior IPS officer who is an ADGP rank officer – equivalent to the City Commissioner who is himself now connected with the case – the probe will be handed over to CID. The CID is likely register a case against the senior IPS officer under the Indian Telegraph Act, and the Official Secrets Act,” said senior IPS sources.