Mumbai/New Delhi: Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Sunday said that the Centre will inquire into alleged misuse of state machinery in Gujarat in the wake of alleged “snooping” on a woman from the state allegedly at the behest of former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, a close aide of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
The illegal surveillance on the woman architect, allegedly by the Gujarat police, was apparently in violation of phone tapping rules as it was reportedly carried out without the mandatory permission from the Centre when she went out of the state.
Asked if Modi should face prosecution for alleged misuse of state machinery, Sushilkumar Shinde said that “inquiry will be conducted about all this and a decision will be taken”. The Union home minister was in Mumbai on Sunday to attend a private function.
“Union and state home secretaries have been authorised to take action against (illegal) snooping,” he said in Mumbai. Sources in the BJP said that the party would not like to respond to Shinde’s remark for the moment.
Sources said that a state home secretary is empowered to order phone tapping of a person within the state but when the surveillance is carried out in multiple states, permission of the Union home secretary is mandatory.
The Gujarat police seems to have tapped the telephone of the woman when she was even in Maharashtra and Karnataka, besides Gujarat, without taking any authorisation from the Union home secretary, the sources said.
The Gujarat government has already constituted an inquiry committee headed by a retired judge of the Gujarat High Court. The Congress has been demanding an independent investigation into the alleged illegal surveillance of the woman.
The Congress has been maintaining that the episode raised questions and doubts about the Gujarat Chief Minister’s alleged disregard for law and intrusion into the privacy of the woman concerned whose family hailed from Kutch.
The party questioned the use of state agencies like the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) and the state intelligence to keep tabs on the woman.
Next: Modi now calls for Article 370 ‘debate’
Modi now calls for Article 370 ‘debate’
Yusuf Jameel | DC
Srinagar: BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sought a nationwide debate on whether Article 370 of the Constitution — which guarantees a special status to Jammu and Kashmir — has been beneficial for the people of the state or not.
If it has been beneficial and has improved the lives of the state’s people, the BJP will stand by it, giving an indication that the party may be ready to give up its demand for abrogation of the provision.
This was quite a contrast to earlier speculations that Modi would use his “Lalkar rally” in Jammu on Sunday — his first in the state after being named PM candidate — to revive the BJP’s demand to scrap Article 370.
Even J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had “warned” people earlier this week that Modi may open a Pandora’s box at the rally and rake up other contentious issues “to wedge society apart and create communal tensions”.
However, both Modi and BJP president Rajnath Singh downplayed the party’s line on the issue.
Modi seems to believe, though, that Article 370 has been discriminatory, and that the people of J&K have not benefited from “people-friendly” laws elsewhere in the country because of it.