Bangalore: Was the illegal surveillance of a Bangalore-based Gujarati woman architect, allegedly close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, conducted on the express instructions of the Gujarat government, sparked by her proximity to a top bureaucrat in Gujarat?
Was it, as is being projected by the BJP, carried out on a “written” request from her father, Pran Lal Soni, a close friend of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate to prevent just such a link?
In an affidavit that has come into the possession of Deccan Chronicle, the lady in the controversial tapes is named as former Bangalorean architect Mxxxx Soni (name withheld).
She is named in IAS officer Pradip Sharma’s affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2011 in which he had submitted that the Chief Minister of Gujarat had foisted false cases against him because the petitioner (Sharma) had “stumbled upon some intimate secrets of Narendra Modi’s illicit escapades with a woman named Mxxxx Soni.”
Soni was picked by Sharma, the then district collector of Kutch who had commissioned the project, as the landscape architect to develop a hill garden in 2005 in Bhuj City as part of the beautification of Kutch district, devastated in the 2001 earthquake.
He had introduced her to Modi, who had come to inaugurate the project. Soni reportedly told Sharma about her ongoing interaction with the Chief Minister and how he would “freely interrupt scheduled meetings, walk out of his office... in order to speak to her privately”, Sharma stated in his petition.
Ms Soni had close ties with Gujarat CM
In his petition, IAS officer Pradip Sharma stated that “In the second week of March 2006, Bangalore-based architect Ms Soni informed him that she had just landed in Ahmedabad and was planning to visit Bhuj. But for the next 48 hours her phone was switched off and after two days she called him and conveyed that she was at the residence of Modi.”
In November 2008, when Mr. Sharma was posted as municipal commissioner, Bhavnagar, Ms Soni informed him that Modi had asked her to do a project on Alang shipyard. “When she came to Bhavnagar she was constantly in touch with Shri Modi, who was abroad,” states the affidavit.
“In one conversation, she showed him (Sharma) a text message that the CM had sent to her from a cell phone number - 9909923400,” states the petition.
During the course of time Modi sensed that Ms Soni may have disclosed her growing proximity to the Gujarat leader, to Sharma and turned up the heat on him, he alleged in the petition as well as a letter he had written in 2011 to Mr, A.K. Joti, the then chief secretary, Gujarat.
Sources close to the development said that the young woman’s proximity to both the Chief Minister and the IAS officer prompted the “snooping,” and that Ms Soni was reportedly mulling coming out in public to give Modi a clean chit.