Phone-tapping scandal gathers political steam in Karnataka

Congress joins chorus for probe

The alleged phone tapping of several politicians by the Bengaluru city police gathered steam with the Congress, former ally of JD(S) and part of the coalition government, also joining in the chorus for a probe on Thursday.

Coordination committee president Siddaramaiah sought a probe into the phone-tapping allegations, while adding that he was not aware of whether it was done at all. “I am not aware whether phones were tapped during the previous government’s tenure. If they were, it is a serious offence. Let there be an investigation and action be taken against those responsible, if proven,” he said. He also tweeted this later.

AICC general secretary and senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge also demanded a probe. “We must first stop allegations and counter-allegations in the issue. Let there be an enquiry and everything will be clear. Based on the findings, the government should take legal action against the offenders. Tapping of phones of political leaders is in no way justifiable. It’s an insult to our Constitution that guarantees right to privacy,” he said.

The JD(S) continued to deny all allegations. Party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda said the allegations were a “political conspiracy” against former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. “I know what is happening in BJP-ruled States and in the country, how institutions have been misused for political purposes. I am surprised at the allegations against us,” he said. Mr. Kumaraswamy, who also denied the allegations, said he would welcome a probe.

However, intriguingly, the State government has been silent on the issue. BJP leaders, who clamoured for a high-level probe, also remained silent on Thursday.

Neelamni N. Raju, DG&IGP, Karnataka, is yet to act on the interim report submitted by Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner (Crime) on the allegations of phone tapping in the city commissionerate. Top police sources said deliberations into the next course of action had concluded to handover the probe to the Criminal Investigation Department. However, sources in CID said they were yet to receive any orders to take over the probe.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 6:23:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/phone-tapping-scandal-gathers-political-steam/article29103403.ece

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