Other States

Gujarat justifies 2009 snoopgate; opposes CBI probe

The Gujarat government has maintained in the Supreme Court that the interception of telephonic conversations of the lady involved in the 2009 ‘snoopgate’ incident was done by the State agencies with her knowledge on the request of her father and there was no violation of her right to privacy.

The State in its affidavit while justifying the action strongly opposed the plea of IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, for a CBI probe into the snooping charges against former Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Narendra Modi based on the transcripts of telephonic conversations posted on Cobrapost and Gulail websites.

The State government said the prayer for CBI probe was based solely upon the unverified alleged material posted on the two websites, which was demonstrably planted at a strategically chosen time to pave way for a false and malicious propaganda. It said “a perusal of the contents of the two websites reveal that even the said websites do not own or confirm the authenticity of what they have posted and the petitioner wants a CBI probe on this unauthentic alleged incident.”

Mr. Sharma initially filed petition for transfer of the four cases to the CBI and even as this pending he filed an application for a CBI probe into the snoopgate incident.

The State alleged that the details of the mobile phone conversations by the petitioner shockingly revealed that he was involved in large scale hawala transactions; he had amassed benami properties and had acquired disproportionate assets beyond his known source of income. Further it said it had come to light that the petitioner had illicit relationships with several married women containing pornographic and/or obscene conversations with them included his subordinate officers, wives of relatives etc.

It pointed out that the father of the girl whose personal issues were being agitated by vested interests had on November 17, 2013 addressed a letter to the National Commission for Women (NCW) and also to the Gujarat State Commission for Women (GSCW). The lady told the GSCW that she had full knowledge of the steps taken by the State agencies to snoop her telephones at the request of her father and she thanked the government for the timely help rendered to her.

The State said, “the lady was seriously perturbed, distressed and disturbed because of the false, scandalous, defamatory and maligning campaign using her name to achieve some hidden sinister agenda ostensibly to protect her right of privacy which she considers not to have been breached.” Contending that the petition was an abuse of the process of law, the state sought dismissal of the petition.

In his petition Mr. Sharma had stated, “the said conversations are during the period from August-September 2009 when Mr. Singhal was reporting to Mr. Amit Shah. The transcripts of the taped conversations reveal that the said lady architect and the applicant were placed under an all-pervasive and intrusive surveillance at the behest of a person referred to as “Saheb” by Mr. Shah. There is no iota of doubt that the person referred to as “Saheb” by Mr. Shah in the tapes/transcripts refer to Mr. Narendra Modi. The said tapes/transcripts reveal a strong bias and prejudice of the State of Gujarat against the applicant and the State’s intent to somehow implicate him in criminal offences.”

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 8:51:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-justifies-2009-snoopgate-opposes-cbi-probe/article5867585.ece

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